In Brief

Beckham blackmail plot emails are 'doctored' and 'inaccurate'

Unicef remains 'proud' of ex-footballer as his spokesman insists leaked messages were taken out of context

Reports about David Beckham's potentially embarrassing private emails, apparently leaked as part of a blackmail attempt, are based on "outdated material taken out of context", his spokesman has said.

The former England captain is said to be one of several victims of a blackmail plot after hackers broke into the computer system of Doyen Global, a sports agency run by his PR chief Simon Oliveira.

Cyber criminals believed to be using Russian servers demanded close to £1m not to expose the sensitive material, says the Daily Mirror. When Doyen Global refused to pay, the emails were leaked.

Documents are said to have included messages from Beckham about missing out on a knighthood and appearing to refuse to give $1m to an event run by Unicef.

But his spokesman said: "This story is based on outdated material taken out of context from hacked and doctored private emails from a third-party server and gives a deliberately inaccurate picture."

He added that Beckham and Unicef have had a "powerful partnership" for more than 15 years and that the David Beckham 7 Fund has "raised millions of pounds and helped millions of vulnerable children around the world".

Unicef also said it was "extremely proud" of its work with Beckham.

According to the Mirror, the hackers initially approached Portugal-based Doyen Sports, part of Doyen Global, promising to destroy the hacked information if it made a "generous donation" of "between €500,000 and a million". When the extortion attempt failed, the hackers passed the emails to the Football Leaks website.

Portuguese police reportedly launched an investigation into the blackmail plot a year ago. One source told the newspaper: "The hack wasn't targeted at David at all. It was very much a fishing expedition, but David has been caught in the crossfire."

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