Buried in the small print of the Mirror’s Half-Yearly Financial Report (out today) is this little note:
Historical Legal Issues
The Group continues to co-operate with the police in respect of Operation Elvedon (the investigation relating to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials) and Operation Golding (the investigation into alleged phone hacking).
The Group is aware of a number of civil claims from individuals in relation to phone hacking. In the first half we have provided £4.0 million to cover the cost of dealing with and resolving claims. It remains uncertain as to how these matters will progress, whether further allegations or claims will be made, and their financial impact. Due to this uncertainty a contingent liability has been highlighted in note 18…
18. Contingent liabilities
There is potential for further liabilities to arise from the outcome or resolution of the ongoing historical legal issues. Due to the present uncertainty in respect of the nature, timing or measurement of any such liabilities it is too soon to be able to reliably estimate how these matters will proceed and their financial impact..
£4 million seems an awfully small provision when you consider the hundreds of millions already paid out to phone hacking victims…