by John Cassy, David Leigh and Kevin Maguire
The Guardian, March 14, 2002
Evidence in the hands of the Guardian suggests that a former Scotland Yard commander who represents two of Rupert Murdoch's companies provided funds to a website that enabled counterfeiters to produce forged smart cards used to defraud ITV Digital, a principal rival in the pay TV market.
Ray Adams, who is the head of security at NDS, a company controlled by Mr Murdoch's News Corporation, had a working relationship with the website, which has now been closed down and whose founder, Lee Gibling, has gone missing. According to emails in the possession of the Guardian, Mr Gibling was in contact with Mr Adams and received several thousand pounds from NDS paid directly into his personal bank account.
As a representative of NDS and BSkyB, News Corporation's British TV business, Mr Adams is a board member of AEPOC, a European industry action group set up to combat piracy.
Questions about Mr Adams's role have emerged following a legal action begun in California on Monday. Canal Plus, the French media company, is claiming $1bn (£700m) in damages from NDS, alleging it used a laboratory in Israel to crack the secret codes on Canal Plus's own pay TV smart cards. The information was then made available to counterfeiters around the world through favoured websites. ITV Digital, in fierce competition with BSkyB, uses the Canal Plus access system and claims that piracy in the business has cost it at least £100m.