- Associated Press - Thursday, April 5, 2012

LONDON (AP) - Rupert Murdoch’s News International is challenging celebrity phone hacking victim Sienna Miller over her legal bill, a person close to the case said late Wednesday.

Miller was one of the first public figures to take the British newspaper company to court for illegally eavesdropping on her telephone messages.

In May, News International agreed to pay the “Alfie” star 100,000 pounds (about $160,000) to settle her claim, but a person close to the case says there’s been no agreement how much to pay out in legal costs and that the issue is headed to court.

The person provided no detail as to when any potential hearing would take place, speaking anonymously because the information wasn’t cleared for release.


News International spokeswoman Daisy Dunlop declined comment, as did Miller’s lawyer, Mark Thomson.

The scandal over illegal interception of voicemail messages at News International’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid has taken a bite out of parent company News Corp.’s bottom line. In February, Murdoch’s international media company disclosed that the bill linked to police and parliamentary probes, a judge-led inquiry, and a slew of lawsuits was close to $200 million.

In the last quarter of 2011 alone, the company paid out $87 million, the vast majority of which was for legal and consulting fees.

Attorneys have said that dozens of lawsuits are still in the pipeline, with legal action expected to continue into next year.