- FORMER NEWS of the World ‘Fake Sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood is behind high-profile stories and pictures supplied to the MoS
- MAHMOOD was sentenced to 15 months’ prison – yet is still working with Britain’s biggest selling middle-market Sunday paper
- EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Dacre is a fierce guardian of paper’s public image
- MAIL ON SUNDAY is silent about his ongoing contact with senior news executives – but denies paying Mahmood directly
CONVICTED courtroom liar Mazher Mahmood is back in the newspaper business – with the morally righteous Mail on Sunday.
The notorious 56-year-old journalist is supplying words and pictures about Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew direct to the news desk at Britain’s biggest Sunday newspaper.
Mahmood – who forged a controversial career tricking celebrities into indiscretions while posing as a ‘Fake Sheikh’ – has been ‘brokering deals’ for a third party photographer, according to a well-placed source.
It is not clear whether MoS Editor-in-Chief Paul Dacre knows his title is using the services of the corrupt Fleet Street reporter.
In the past, billionaire owner Lord Rothermere has intervened quickly when scandal has threatened the reputation of the Mail on Sunday, which has a strong editorial line on ‘law and order’.
There is no suggestion that Mazher Mahmood is still actively involved in criminal activity, although his role in the phone-hacking scandal is being probed in civil claims at the High Court.
The former undercover reporter was convicted in October 2016 of perverting the course of justice in a court case involving another high-profile story.
Mahmood was found guilty of interfering with evidence in the drugs trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos, and jailed for 15 months for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Now the ex-Investigations Editor, who won the Reporter of the Year award in 1999 when Fleet Street was unaware or disregarded his criminal conduct, is out of prison, and is doing deals with the Mail on Sunday.
A spokesman for the Mail on Sunday denied Mahmood was freelancing for them, or that they had ever paid him for his services.
However, the paper did not deny that he’d been in contact with the MoS or had been supplying them with information.
His contact at the Mail on Sunday is news desk executive James Mellor.
The partnership of Mahmood and Mellor has form.
They were criticised at their previous employer the News of The World for putting Labour MP Tom Watson under intrusive surveillance.
The paper targeted Watson because of his role on Parliament’s Culture Select Committee, which was investigating the phone hacking scandal at the time.
The Deputy Labour Leader was publicly seeking to expose organised criminality at the paper, whilst the News of the World was actively covering it up and attacking critics.
But today Mahmood is capitalising on his News of the World expertise and knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein, a story which he’s been involved in since 2011.
One source claims that Mahmood recently brokered the deal to sell video footage, which was acquired by an associate in his News of the World days, for use in the Mail on Sunday’s world exclusive.
The video showed Prince Andrew peeking out of the front door of Epstein’s grandiose house in New York.
The prominent spread, over pages four and five, was headlined: ‘A smile, a wave and a nervous glance.’
A Mail on Sunday spokesman said: ‘Mazher Mahmood is not – and never has been – a freelancer for The Mail on Sunday.
‘He has never been paid by The Mail on Sunday in connection with these or any other stories.’
Byline Investigates posed three further questions, asking if Mahmood has been in contact with James Mellor or the Mail on Sunday.
A spokesman added: ‘Your sources’ information is clearly unreliable. I refer you to our statement last week.’
It is not known whether Mahmood has received payment from a third party.
More follows in Part 2