Virgin Atlantic employee quits over celebrity flight leak allegations

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 07, 2012 11:50 hrs

An employee at the Virgin Atlantic resigned after she was alleged to have given out flight details of up to 70 people, including those of Princess Beatrice, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johannson, to a paparazzi agency.

Virgin said that the employee, a junior member of the Virgin team tasked with looking after high-profile clients, quit on Thursday ahead of newspaper reports alleging that she'd been passing information to agency Big Pictures, a London-based celebrity picture agency, as recently as last year.

An email sent by the employee reportedly gave details for a flight taken by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife, actress Isla Fisher, from Heathrow last year, noting "They're in economy!!!!!"

Others reportedly affected were Tottenham Hotspur player Jermain Defoe, actress Sienna Miller, actor Daniel Radcliffe and singer Robbie Williams.

Miller obtained an injunction against the paparazzi in 2008, when Big Pictures paid her 53,000 pounds and agreed no longer to follow her.

She later told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards that she often felt "intimidated" by aggressive photographers.

In a statement on Thursday, the company called the allegations "extremely serious" and said it had launched an investigation.

"The incident that has been alleged concerns eight customers' flights booked in 2010 and we are in contact with all of those people," the Telegraph quoted the airline company as saying in a statement.

Neither Virgin nor the newspapers identified the employee in question.

Both said that they'd seen messages which apparently caught the employee using her private email address to share flight numbers, departure times, and arrival information with Big Pictures Ltd. (ANI)

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