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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
BBC identifies salary leak source
Jonathan Ross
Jonathan Ross was said to earn 540,000 for his three-hour show
A temporary agency worker has been sacked after the BBC identified him as the person who leaked presenters' salaries to the press.

The BBC said Sam Walton, 23, had admitted being paid more than 1,000 for information he obtained as an assistant in the business affairs team.

The leak led to embarrassing reports of how much radio stars Jonathan Ross, Terry Wogan and Chris Moyles were paid.

The BBC said Mr Walton had been fired by his agency.

He had been given access to financial systems for three months earlier this year, it added.

Internal inquiry

He was previously employed as a researcher and runner on Top of the Pops and Strictly Come Dancing spin-off It Takes Two.

Mr Walton admitted selling some information but denied being responsible for all the leaks, the BBC said.

The BBC launched an internal investigation after the presenters' alleged salaries appeared in the Sun and Mirror newspapers.

Terry Wogan
Terry Wogan was reportedly BBC Radio 2's top earner on 800,000
They claimed Wogan and Moyles earned 800,000 and 630,000 respectively for their breakfast shows, while Ross was paid 540,000 a year for his three-hour Saturday programme.

BBC director general Mark Thompson was forced to defend his stars' wages following criticism that the corporation was pricing commercial rivals out of the market.

Mr Thompson insisted commercial companies were offering BBC personalities "far, far higher rates than they are currently getting".

In a statement, the BBC said it had "identified an individual who disclosed confidential BBC information in exchange for a substantial sum of money".

The agency that employed him "have informed us that they have dismissed him", it added.

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