David Beckham 'refused to pay £1m to hackers blackmailing him in email leak'
David Beckham reportedly refused to pay £1m to hackers attempting to extort money from him by threatening to release personal emails of his.
Hackers, who are to said to have used Russian servers, targeted the footballer's email correspondence with his publicists at Simon Oliveira's agency.
They allegedly threated to expose the emails, which suggested his work with UNICEF was part of a campaign for a knighthood, if they were not given the seven figure sum.
One of the messages allegedly reads: "They r a bunch of c***s. I expected nothing less. Who decides on the honors [sic]?? It's a disgrace to be honest and if I was American I would have got something like this 10 years ago."
A spokesperson for the former Manchester United star, who is married to designer Victoria Beckham, said the comments published were purposely misleading and he denied any wrongdoing.
"This story is based on outdated material taken out of context from hacked and doctored private emails and gives a deliberately inaccurate picture," the spokesperson said.
In another alleged email, Beckham hit out at Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins for receiving an OBE over him in 2014 for services to music.
The alleged email to Oliveira reads: "Katherine Jenkins OBE for what? Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops, plus admitting to taking coke.… F***ing joke and if you get asked we should think of a cutting remark."
Beckham was brought on as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2005 and one thread appears to show him haggling with charity bosses over the quality of his accommodation during a trip to the Philippines.
A source told the Daily Mirror an investigation has been underway into the hackers over the last 12 months in Portugal, where Mr Oliveira's firm Doyen Global has servers.
Members of Beckham's publicity team contacted police last year when they were first threatened with the leak by someone using an alias Artem Lovouz.
"They approached by email and attempted to meet via another third party," an insider told the newspaper.
"The investigation has been going on behind the scenes for some time and involved several prominent companies."
The hacker allegedly told Doyen Sports chief executive Neilo Lucas: "A generous donation, and you can be sure that all the information I possess will be destroyed."
Beckham was granted an OBE from Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 2003.
Meanwhile, UNICEF have stood behind the legendary athlete, saying they will continue to work together going forward.
"David Beckham has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005, and as well as generously giving his time, energy and support to help raise awareness and funds for UNICEF’s work for children, David has given significant funds personally," a statement of their website reads.
"The 7 Fund supports programmes for children, tackling issues such as malnutrition, violence, AIDS and emergencies. For example, in June 2016 David visited Swaziland to raise awareness of the devastating drought affecting Eastern and Southern Africa, helping UNICEF reach people around the world with important messages about the need for urgent action.
"UNICEF works closely with high profile personalities in good faith to fundraise, advocate and make long-term change for children in danger around the world.
"Our Ambassadors support UNICEF in a voluntary capacity, receiving no fee for their time and commitment. They contribute greatly to UNICEF’s work for children."