- Associated Press - Friday, June 1, 2012

LONDON (AP) - A lawyer for Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper group says the company could face 500 lawsuits from victims of tabloid phone hacking _ far more than have so far been filed.

Michael Silverleaf told a court hearing Friday that “we are dealing with 500 claims, potentially” from people who say their voicemail messages were intercepted by the now-defunct News of the World.

Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers has paid millions to settle lawsuits from 60 actors, athletes, politicians and other public figures whose voicemails were hacked by the tabloid.

More than 45 new cases are due to go to court, with claimants including soccer star Wayne Rooney and Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Murdoch closed the News of the World last July amid an outcry over its wrongdoing.

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