Paul Burrell, who was butler to the late Princess of Wales, is suing Max Clifford for alleged breach of confidentiality. He claims that, rather than limiting bad press coverage, the celebrity publicist passed on stories about him to the News of the World.
Mr Clifford’s lawyer, Daniel Morrison, is reported as having issued the following denial: “The claims made by Mr Burrell have no merit. His allegations are opportunistic and are denied.”
Mr Burrell claims that he hired Mr Clifford about a decade ago in a bid to limit adverse publicity.
Mark Lewis, his lawyer, says that Mr Burrell claims he was asked by Mr Clifford to write down personal details he feared could be uncovered by the media so that the publicist was prepared in dealing with them.
Mr Lewis said: “The police say they raided the News of the World’s offices and there is a fax header there showing that things were sent from Max Clifford Associates to the News of the World concerning Paul Burrell.“
Mr Clifford’s reported statement continued: “We will defend these claims in court and will be asking the judge at the earliest opportunity to strike out these claims as having no prospect of success and an abuse of process.”
The allegations come just days after Mr Clifford was arrested on suspicion of sexual offences under Operation Yewtree, the Scotland Yard investigation into allegations of sexual abuses, instigated in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Mr Clifford built his reputation advising famous people how to deal with Britain’s tabloid press.