Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess Of Sussex have hit out at the “predatory practices” of a U.K. tabloid that allegedly targeted the couple in 2016.

According to a report from The New York Times, editors at The Sun newspaper paid the private investigator to hand over information on former Suits actress Meghan shortly after she began dating Harry.

The New York Times reviewed an invoice that allegedly shows Daniel ‘Danno’ Portley-Hanks sold the information – including phone numbers, Social Security numbers and home addresses – to The Sun‘s U.S. editor James Beal for $2,055 (£1,484.67).

The information allegedly led the tabloid to publish unfavourable stories about her half-sister Samantha Markle and estranged father Thomas Markle.

In a statement, via E! News, the pair reflected on the scandal, sharing: “Today is an important moment of reflection for the media industry and society at large, as this investigative report shows that the predatory practices of days past are still ongoing, reaping irreversible damage for families and relationships.”

The investigator publicly apologised to Harry and Meghan via Byline Investigates, sharing: “I’m sorry to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for targeting her family, particularly her dad, on behalf of The Sun.

“I never wanted to cause Meghan Markle harm, and wouldn’t have done the job if I’d have known it would lead to all these problems.

“I also wanted to take this opportunity to apologise to The Queen, because I realise the harm of what I did for The Sun has affected the whole family.”

He also insisted The Sun‘s reporters told him to go ahead “with a nod and a wink… I strongly believe that James Beal knew that what I was providing him was obtained illegally.”

Meanwhile, The Sun‘s publisher, News Group Newspapers, told the New York Times it made a “legitimate request” for Daniel to research Meghan Markle using his license, adding: “He was instructed clearly in writing to act lawfully and he signed a legal undertaking that he would do so.” (CDG/WNWE/CDG)

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