LAWYERS defending the gym owner being sued by the Princess of Wales have contacted police over claims that two tabloid newspapers were offered the transcripts of a conversation between a partner and a private investigator for u30,000.
The incident has occurred only weeks before the 13 February start date for the trial.
Partner Razi Mireskandari, head of litigation at leading West End media and crime firm Simons Muirhead & Burton, says: "My primary concern is that the tape identifies my investigator as well as the information I require from certain witnesses.
"In my view, dissemination of that information would be tantamount to interference with the course of justice and it hampers the presentation of my client's defence."
Senior partner Anthony Burton adds: "I regard this as a sinister development in this high-profile case, which we have reported to the police."
Mireskandari is acting for Bryce Taylor of LA Fitness plc. Taylor is being sued for breaches of contract and fiduciary duty, for taking pictures of Princess Diana while she was exercising at the gym. The pictures were published in the Daily Mirror.
Mireskandari was "door-stepped" at home by journalists from the two tabloid newspapers on three consecutive days before they decided not to publish the transcripts.
He then approached the press about the tape.
Mireskandari says: "I wanted it out in the public domain in order to prevent anybody attempting to publicise the contents of the tape, if approached."
The investigator was using a portable phone and the call was intercepted in a similar way to that involved in the "Squidgygate" and "Camillagate" tapes.