Former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman sought more “cash dockets” than any other reporter despite rarely leaving the office, a court heard.
Stuart Kuttner said Goodman’s constant presence in the office was strange.
The 73 year-old former managing editor of the now defunct tabloid told police: “The business of him not going out of the office, never really understood.
"Eventually I learnt that no matter what he wouldn't stir himself and go out and cover stories – that seemed to be a negation of a reporter's role."
Goodman managed to pass off credits for payment to private investigator Mulcaire in a false name without anyone in the finance department noticing or asking questions, the court heard.
It was because "we trusted the staff" Kuttner suggested, adding that Coulson had been "deceived" by Goodman.
If it had been a highly-contentious story you would have looked closer in to it so when this sort of thing happens "you are very very cross, very angry, you are very wounded".
No one would have any reason to think "this is an invention" and there was not a culture of using false names to make payments at the paper, he claimed.
Repeatedly asked if he "tasked" Goodman to hack telephones of members of the royal household or if he was aware that Mulcaire was involved in such work, Kuttner insisted that he had "absolutely not".
In police interview Kuttner recalled that Goodman "seemed to bring forward more cash dockets than any other journalist."
Kuttner said that his attention was "on the figures" adding "what I recollect is that as much as anybody else he wanted to pay contacts in cash".
He accepted that "it's possible" this could have been a ploy to try to avoid being spotted by an audit trail.
Kuttner was asked if he ever conspired with Coulson to hack into mobile phones
He replied: "No I did not".
He was also asked if he was aware of Coulson conspiring with others or actually hacking into mobile phones himself".
Kuttner replied: "No I am not".
Kuttner became managing editor in the late 1980s and worked in that role until July 2009 but carried on part-time as a trustee of News International's pension fund until the paper closed.
All of the defendants deny all of the charges.
The trial continues.