Sun spokesman dismisses suggestion that News Corp lawyers to blame for Russian air crash

Are News Corp lawyers inadvertently to blame for the deaths of 224 Russians in the Egyptian air crash last month?

A Sun spokesman today rejected an article in Private Eye alleging that a reporter was blocked five months ago from exposing security failings at Sharm al Sheikh airport as "wrong in its entirety".

But my understanding is that Nick Parker's experience at Sharm al Sheikh was the talk of the newsroom before the Private Eye story appeared. Well-placed sources believe the Eye  story to be at least partially true. And my own inquiries confirm reporters have major issues in agreeing cash payments under the new compliance regime at The Sun, meaning that many public interest stories are going untold.

Private Eye reported Parker was at Sharm airport in June this year and heard of corrupt officials letting tourists bypass security in return for cash backhanders. It reports that he sought approval to bribe an official with £20 in order to report the story, but the payment was vetoed by the lawyers in New York on the Management and Standards Committee.

It said the request went via managing editor Stig Abell to chief compliance officer Imogen Haddon and then to New York.

On 31 October Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed following its take-off from Sharm and it is suspected that the crash was caused by a bomb.

The Sun published the Sharm al Sheikh security story a week ago (see above).

A Sun spokesman said: "The Eye article is wrong in its entirety.

"Nick Parker was not in Sharm working on any story about paying corrupt officials at all

"Stig was not contacted by anyone in connection with any story involving Nick.

"Imogen Haddon was away on maternity leave at the time.

"We're quite perplexed by this to be honest."

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