A phone hacking investigation at News of the World parent News International, conducted in 2007, revealed emails that reportedly showed that the contact details of the royal family had been bought by the newspaper, according to reports.
The BBC has reported that emails finally passed to the police last month show the News of the World contacted a royal protection officer, from whom the newspaper bought royal contact details. News of the World offered around £1,000 for the information, according to the broadcaster's sources.
The broadcaster quoted sources as saying there was "clear evidence from the emails that the security of the royal family was being put at risk".
News International's own internal investigation four years ago had officially concluded there was no evidence of widespread hacking beyond the paper's disgraced royal news editor, Clive Goodman. The emails are now in the hands of the police. Details continue to emerge.
The news follows stories that the police may investigate whether a change in News International's email retention policy took place to conceal evidence of phone hacking. News International outsourcer HCL has denied any involvement in alleged email deletion, saying it did not manage data.
The trawl for emails and the questioning of changes in News International's email retention policy has important implications for IT security and corporate governance professionals.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said during a press conference today that the allegations emerging "hour by hour" cast "a further cloud" over News International and its bid for BSkyB.
Andy Coulson, the former Downing Street head of communications who is accused of allowing the hacking to go ahead during his tenure as editor of the newspaper, was arrested on Friday.
The last edition of the News of the World was published yesterday, amid a scandal over alleged phone hacking by journalists looking for stories. The paper had been published for 158 years.