Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has lost a High Court action against his ex-employer over its refusal to pay his legal fees arising from the phone-hacking affair.
Mr Coulson, 43, who was not in court today had been attempting to sue News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers (NGN) over the construction of a clause within a severance agreement after his resignation in February 2007.
He asked Mr Justice Supperstone for a declaration that NGN, which stopped reimbursement in August, "must pay the professional costs and expenses properly incurred" by him "in defending allegations of criminal conduct" during his tenure.
Mr Coulson, who was arrested in July over the allegations and released on bail, has always denied any wrongdoing.
He resigned from his position as Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications in January, saying that coverage of the scandal was making it too difficult for him to do his job.
Christopher Jeans QC, for NGN, said the clause covered the "occupational hazards of being an editor" and not alleged criminal activity.
Dismissing the claim, the judge said the agreement did not cover the criminal allegations made against Mr Coulson personally and if, contrary to his view, the criminal allegations were covered, no proceedings had commenced.
He ordered Mr Coulson to pay NGN's costs and refused him permission to appeal, although he can renew his application directly to the Court of Appeal.
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