Glenn Mulcaire was paid more than £413,000 during his time at the News of the World, the phone hacking trial has heard.
Andrew Edis QC for the prosecution said Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor of the paper authorised 221 separate payments to Mulcaire.
In total, he received £413,527 from the News of the World.
The court heard Mulcaire signed a contract worth £92,000 a year with the newspaper in September 2001 when rules about paying contributors had changed.
By 2004, this figure had increased to more than £104,000 with additional payments for expenses.
Edis said during this time there great pressure within the News of the World to control costs. He said Mulcaire was “a major exception”.
Stuart Kuttner emailed Greg Miskiw (pictured above) in September 2000 that his budget had been over spent by 43 percent in just nine weeks.
Other correspondence said “spending outside” certain limits would require “formal approval from the editor”.
Staff were threatened with “the most severe consequences” if costs could not be contained.
"If people knew that Mr Mulcaire was committing crimes on behalf of the NotW or engaged in unacceptable activity on behalf of the NotW, then they would quickly understand that he had to be deniable."
Edis asked the jury to consider the nature of the newspaper business.
"You're going to have to form a view about how much pressure there was on journalists at the NotW to get stories, so that they strayed sometimes into crime in order to do it.
"And also how much the editor was involved in the whole process."
Edis said that Brooks, Kuttner and Coulson were working together to rein in spending.
He said: "We can see the three of them operating as a management team, trying to keep these groups of journalists within budget."
Brooks' instructions about controlling spending were reiterated that month, and she wrote to Miskiw and former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck telling them that any payments over £1,000 would have to be authorised by herself, Kuttner or Coulson.
Edis told the court that Kuttner warned them he would be "unavoidably tough", saying: "The palmy days of indulgence are over."
The prosecutor told the court: "That's the point which we say generates the inference that they must have known what was going on with Mr Mulcaire.
"What on earth do they think they are doing if they did not know? The money was going out of the paper. Where was it going? Did they care? Well, yes, they did."
All eight defendants deny the charges.
The case continues…