Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are already facing criminal charges in relation to the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked News Corp.‘s UK press arm, News International. Today, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said it would also level criminal charges against former News International chief Brooks and former News Of The World editor Coulson in relation to Operation Elveden, the investigation into alleged corrupt payments by newspapers to police officers and other public officials. Former Rupert Murdoch lieutenant Brooks was editor of The Sun newspaper from 2003-2009 and later became head of News International. Prosecutors today said they had concluded that Brooks, along with ex-Sun reporter John Kay and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan Barber, “should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012. This conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan Barber for payment, which formed the basis of a series of news stories published by The Sun. It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid” to Barber between 2004 and 2011.” READ MORE »
Rebekah Brooks And Andy Coulson Will Face Criminal Charges Over Alleged Payments To Public Officials
‘Skyfall’ Brings Windfall To UK’s Odeon Circuit
On Thursday, Skyfall became the UK’s all-time highest grossing 007 movie, taking £57M ($91.2)in just 12 days. Odeon, Britain’s largest cinema chain, is reaping the benefits of the breakout Bond movie scoring the largest 7-day opening ever for a single film with £11.3M ($18.1M) in takings at its theaters. Its flagship cinema, Odeon Leicester Square, also set a new record with more than £530K ($848K) in Skyfall’s first week to overtake Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which took £495K ($792K at current exchange rate) in 2011. Odeon had a 30.5% market share of Skyfall’s UK box office in its first week.
Andy Coulson and six other former News Of The World journalists appeared in a London court this morning on phone hacking charges relating to their time at the now defunct paper. The group were given a preliminary hearing …
Google Wins Copyright Fight Vs. France’s TF1
Google won a round this week when a French court dismissed claims from French television channel TF1 that Google should be liable for TF1 programs that appeared on Google’s YouTube video website. The court ruled that YouTube is a “hosting” service and thus isn’t responsible for filtering videos its users upload for copyright infringement — as long as the website has a system for removing content upon notification by owners. TF1 sought $187.5 million in damages but the court instead ordered TF1 to pay Google $99,000 in legal fees. TF1 is considering whether to appeal.
Universal Intl. Buys ‘Foosball 3D’ for Spain, Latin America
Universal Pictures International has acquired distribution rights in the territories of Latin America and Spain for Oscar-winning Secrets In Their Eyes director Juan Jose Campanella’s new film, Foosball 3D (Metegol/ Futbolin). Animated family movie is about a boy whose table football players come to life and help him defeat a rival and win back his childhood sweetheart. Animation is being supervised by Sergio Pablos (Despicable Me, Rio) and the film is produced by Jorge Estrada Mora’s Jempsa in Argentina, and by Plural-Jempsa and Antena 3 Films in Spain. Foosball 3D is currently in post and will be released next year.
Former News Of The World editor Andy Coulson today said he did not believe in a “grand conspiracy” between News Corp‘s UK press arm, News International, and the UK’s Conservative Party. Coulson, who left the tabloid in 2007 and …
In some of the most startling testimony yet in the British government’s investigation into press ethics and phone hacking, former News of the World deputy features editor Paul McMullan declared Tuesday that departed editor Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks were well aware of and actively encouraged illegal voicemail interception. To a direct question of whether Coulson and Brooks knew phone voicemails were being intercepted, McMullan replied, “Yes.” Coulson and Brooks have repeatedly declared either their ignorance or denied that the activity was taking place. Defending the practice, McMullan said ”I don’t think anyone realized that anyone was committing a crime at the start” and asserted that “Phone hacking is a perfectly acceptable tool given the sacrifices we make, if all we are trying to do is get to the truth.”
UPDATE, 8:10 PM:
Scotland Yard has blocked the release of the names of several News of the World journalists who ordered a private detective to hack into mobile phones belonging to six public figures. The agency declined comment today but has in the past prevented the release of facts surrounding the case on the grounds its investigation would be compromised. The names could show how widespread the practice was at the paper, which was closed down by Rupert Murdoch last month.
PREVIOUS, 3:54 PM: While Rupert Murdoch and his son James await a likely summons to the UK High Court to answer more questions under oath about News Corp’s involvement in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, there is a report today that lawyers for News Corp arm News International are looking into reporting practices, financial records and emails at their UK newspapers — specifically to see whether there’s anything there that could be construed as violations of the U.S.’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Meanwhile, the inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice that would include questions to Rupert and James Murdoch could get underway by October. Prime Minister David Cameron and other politicians also could be called. A UK Telegraph report said letter already have been sent to potential witnesses, who also could include former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both former NOTW editors.
Q&A With UK Journalist Who Uncovered News Corp Scandal: Rupert Murdoch Likely To Outlast James Who’s In “A Tight Corner”, The Guardian’s Nick Davies Says
James Murdoch could lose his job as News Corp’s deputy COO or BSkyB’s chairman as soon as this fall. That’s the informed prediction of The Guardian’s Nick Davies in an exclusive interview with me. The journalism muckraker says there’s “every chance” that the Parliamentary committee investigating the News of the World phone-hacking and police-bribery scandal will conclude that James misled them about a key question in the case: Did James pay $1.4M in hush money in 2008 to a hacking victim who could have disclosed that NOTW‘s violations were more extensive than the company publicly admitted? James says he didn’t. But three former News International executives dispute his testimony. If Parliament decides James is wrong, then “that’s a severe development,” says Davies. His predictions matter. Because Davies is the reporter who broke open the Murdoch scandal and has led the coverage at every turn. He’s also writing a book about the case, due in late 2012, called Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught up with the World’s Most Powerful Man. On a visit to the U.S. this week looking for new dimensions to the story, he spoke to me about where things stand — and where the tale could lead.
DEADLINE: How high do you think the scandal will go?
DAVIES: In terms of criminal charges at the moment there’s no reason to think it will go higher. You’ve got to the level of Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International — and it’s in relation to her function as an editor [of News Of The World]. You’ve got Andy Coulson, a former (NOTW) editor and Prime Ministerial right-hand man. So at the moment that’s as high as the criminal stuff goes. Ethical questions go higher. Clearly James Murdoch is in a tight corner because there’s every chance that the select committee is going to produce a report during September or October which will say that he has misled them. First of all, in reputational terms, that’s a severe development if the committee says you’ve misled Parliament. That matters in British politics. The second thing is in the detail: What they would be saying is that back in May 2008 he was shown evidence of criminal activity by reporters at News Of The World and he didn’t do anything about it. Investors have lost a small fortune as the shares have died. I think those shareholders may react to that committee report and say, ‘Well, you’ve got to go’.
DEADLINE: Do we basically know the contours of the story? Is it just a matter now of filling in the blanks — or could this grow much bigger?
DAVIES: In theory the story could break out in lots of different directions. There are other private investigators, we could find out about them. There are other newspapers in Britain that are hiring private investigators to do the same illegal things. We could bring in the other papers. There are other illegal techniques: It’s mostly focused on hacking voicemail and getting access to confidential databases. But there has been a lot of e-mail hacking, getting inside of computers, and there has been some burglary. There has also, to a smaller extent, been live tapping of phone calls. Then you might overflow into other countries. It is interesting to ask whether anything similar has been happening in the United States or Australia. At the moment I wouldn’t claim to know the answer to those questions. That’s what I’m looking for.
DEADLINE: Have you heard anything to suggest that any of Rupert Murdoch’s U.S.-based news organizations – the New York Post or Fox News – might be pulled into the story?
A former News Of The World show business reporter who said that Andy Coulson personally encouraged phone hacking when he was editor was found dead at home the Guardian reports. The paper says that police are treating the death of Sean Hoare as “unexplained” but “not suspicious,” suggesting …
The actor, who’s starred in several recent Fox releases including Marmaduke and Percy Jackson, is one of several celebrities whose mobile phone was allegedly hacked by Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator hired by Murdoch tabloid News of the World. Coogan has instructed London lawyers Schillings to complain to the Murdoch publishing empire, and Schillings has written to News International threatening to sue. Coogan could argue that his privacy has been invaded and data protection laws breached. It will now be up to the newspaper giant as to whether it chooses to settle or defies Coogan in court. News Corp has already paid out more than $1.6 million settling similar legal cases,