Koo Stark, the former actress and one-time girlfriend of Prince Andrew, is reported to be planning to launch a phone-hacking claim against News Corporation in the US courts.

A London Evening Standard story said Stark had instructed the British lawyer, Mark Lewis, to act for her.

He has represented several hacking victims, notably the family of Milly Dowler. And it is known that Lewis has joined forces with Norman Siegel, an American lawyer who acted for the families of 9/11 victims.

Legal action against News Corp in the States over hacking would be acutely embarrassing for Rupert Murdoch.

By taking the scandal into the company's base it could cause more investors to question the positions of Murdoch - who is both chairman and chief executive - and his son, James, the chief operating officer.

It might also stimulate an investigation by the US authorities.

The Guardian reported in May last year that the celebrity publicist, Max Clifford, had claimed Stark was planning to sue a tabloid newspaper.

She had been informed by Scotland Yard that she was a potential victim of the News of the World.

Stark's legal team were quoted at the time saying her voicemail messages were hacked when she was using a phone in America.

However, at the time of her relationship with the the Prince Andrew in the early 1980s, cellular mobile phones were not in use.

Clifford said Stark had approached him because she was convinced her phone was tapped when she was with the prince.

Stark, a native New Yorker, was an actress when she had her romance with the then single prince. After they split in the mid-1980s, she was briefly married and became a photographer.

But she has remained on friendly terms with Prince Andrew. She was a guest at his 50th birthday party at St James's Palace in 2010.

Now 55, she was reported by the Daily Mail in 2008 to have been made bankrupt following a protracted and expensive court battle with a former fiancé, American banker Warren Walker, who is the father of her daughter, Tatiana, born in 1997.

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