Ex-Royal Butler: 'Max Clifford Sold Me Out'

David Bowden, Sky News Senior Correspondent
Ex-Royal Butler: 'Max Clifford Sold Me Out'

Just days after being questioned by police in connection with alleged sex offences, which he says are completely untrue, Sky News has learned that Max Clifford is being sued by one of his former clients for alleged breach of confidentiality - accusations the publicist denies.

Princess Diana's butler Paul Burrell claims he hired Mr Clifford in a bid to limit bad press coverage about him a decade ago, but now the former royal servant alleges that rather than stopping stories Mr Clifford passed them on to The News of the World.

His lawyer Mark Lewis says Paul Burrell claims that Mr Clifford asked him to write down personal details which he feared might be uncovered by the media so that he could deal with them if they appeared, but instead of keeping the details confidential it is alleged Mr Clifford faxed the handwritten documents to the News of the World.

He 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. Paul's own notes, Paul's own handwriting that he'd given to Max suddenly finds itself at the News of the World."

But Mr Clifford has issued a robust response.

"The claims made by Mr Burrell have no merit. His allegations are opportunistic and are denied," he said.

"It is an affront to common sense to suggest that Mr Burrell, who has sold stories to the newspapers, made countless appearances on TV and has even written a book about his dealings with the royal family, now feels able to claim that any information he provided was confidential.

"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."

Mr Clifford has made a very successful, very lucrative and high profile career managing the publicity of some of the world's biggest stars and he has often spoken to the media on a range of PR issues.

If he was to have sold out one of his clients in the way Mr Burrell alleges then that lucrative career would be badly damaged.

Whatever the truth of these allegations, the coming together of the former butler to the one time most famous woman in the world and the publicist to the stars is bound to create a lot of interest.

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