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Scotland Yard Will Interview Rupert Murdoch As A Suspect In Hacking Inquiry: Report

Scotland Yard Will Interview Rupert Murdoch As A Suspect In Hacking Inquiry: ReportRupert Murdoch remains vulnerable to the UK phone hacking inquiries despite a split verdict yesterday in cases involving two of his former lieutenants, Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks: Scotland Yard has officially told the Fox CEO that it wants to interview him soon, and considers him a suspect, according to The Guardian‘s Nick Davies. “It is understood that detectives first contacted Murdoch last year to arrange to question him but agreed to a request from his lawyers to wait until the phone-hacking trial was finished,” he writes. Fox co-COO James Murdoch — who, in addition to being Rupert’s son, ran UK operations when much of the hacking took place — “may also be questioned,” the paper says.
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Ex-News Corp Editor Andy Coulson Charged With Perjury In Scotland

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 2:10am PDT

Andy Coulson ChargedScottish police have arrested and charged Andy Coulson, the former communications chief of British Prime Minister David Cameron and former editor of News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid, of committing perjury before the High Court in Glasgow, the Wall Street Journal reports. Coulson was taken to Scotland for questioning about his testimony at the perjury trial of former Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan in 2010. On the witness stand in that case, Coulson denied there was a culture of phone hacking at News of the World during his tenure. The paper alleged Sheridan had visited a swingers’ club. Sheridan was convicted of perjury and recently got out of prison.

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Moody’s: News Corp Debt Unaffected By “Politicized Hyperbole” About Murdoch

The debt rating service says that bond holders have no need to fear the fallout from a parliamentary report yesterday that says Rupert Murdoch’s handling of the UK hacking scandal made him “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The media and entertainment giant’s “significant cash balance and strong free cash flow generation mitigates the uncertainty of additional financial fallout from the phone hacking scandal,” Moody’s Investors Service concluded today. News Corp has a strong Baa1 senior unsecured rating; it generates about $2.5B a year in cash and had $9.4B in its coffers at the end of 2011, equal to more than 60% of its $15.5B in debt. Moody’s says that after “cutting through the highly politicized hyperbole” it concluded that News Corp can “mitigate potential costs” from the scandal. The report  from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee “represents an opinion without any direct regulatory implications.” Read More »

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News Corp: “Toxic Institution”, UK Lawmaker Says In New Book

By | Thursday April 19, 2012 @ 7:13am PDT

Labour MP Tom Watson bared his contempt for Rupert Murdoch’s company in his new book Dial M For Murdoch, according to the Guardian’s report about his comments today at a press conference to introduce the tome. A member of the Parliamentary committee that’s investigating the UK phone hacking scandal, Watson and his co-author — journalist Martin Hickman — called News Corp a “toxic institution” that operates as a “shadow state” in the country. For example, the book says that the mogul’s now-shuttered tabloid News Of The World tried to embarrass members of the committee by searching for “secret lovers” or “extramarital affairs.” Watson specifically cites an interview he had with former NOTW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck who said that his former editor, Colin Myler, instructed journalists to “find out everything you can about every single member” of the committee. The book says that Thurlbeck revealed that “Each reporter was given two members [MPs] and there were six reporters that went on for around 10 days.” The search for scandal ”fell by the wayside” when the paper’s news editor, Ian Edmondson, “realized that there was something quite horrible about doing this.” But Watson says that MPs were intimidated enough to decide not to insist that Rebekah Brooks, who at the time was chief executive of News International, testify before the committee.

 

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How Murdoch Tabloids “Monster” Their Enemies: Video

By | Tuesday March 27, 2012 @ 10:53am PDT

Rupert Murdoch is in for a lot of embarrassment tonight based on this clip from the documentary about the UK hacking scandal that will air on PBS’ Frontline. It describes how important News Of The World and other UK tabloids were to Murdoch’s rise, his love of gossip, and how his papers “monstered” — meaning, destroyed — those who got in his way. Veteran reporter Lowell Bergman led the investigation for the episode titled “Murdoch’s Scandal.”


Watch Getting “Monstered” By the Murdoch Tabloids on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.
 

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James Murdoch Completes His Exit From News Corp UK Newspaper Operations

This is sure to add fuel to Wall Street’s hopeful speculation that News Corp might sell its scandal plagued UK newspapers. Deputy COO James Murdoch, Rupert’s son, has wiped the ink off his hands by resigning from the boards of the company’s UK print operations, according to multiple news reports citing News Corp filings at Companies House, which regulates corporate activities. He left Times Newspaper Holdings — the institution that was supposed to protect the independence of the Times of London and the Sunday Times when Rupert Murdoch bought them in 1981 — as well as News Corporation Investments and News International Publications Limited. These moves follow James’ resignation last month from the executive chairman job at News International, which oversees the UK print operations. He said at the time that the decision made sense following his move to New York to expand “my commitment to News Corporation’s international television businesses and other key initiatives across the Company.” Murdoch has also Read More »

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James Murdoch: “I Did Not Know About, Nor Did I Try To Hide, Wrongdoing”

By | Wednesday March 14, 2012 @ 10:31am PDT

The News Corp Deputy COO, and son of CEO Rupert Murdoch, is holding fast to his position that others are to blame for the News Of The World hacking scandal — as well as his company’s effort to downplay the extent of the lawbreaking when executives testified to Parliament about the matter in 2009. ”It would have been better if I had not relied on the people who had assured me that thorough investigations had been carried out and that further investigations were unnecessary,” he said in a seven-page defense sent Monday to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Murdoch sent the letter, released today, as committee members prepare to decide whether he and other News International executives misled Parliament in 2009 when they said that phone hacking was limited to one rogue reporter. Murdoch acknowledges that “it would have been better if I had asked more questions, requested more documents and scrutinised them carefully.” But he still points the finger at other execs, especially former legal adviser Tom Crone and former NOTW editor Colin Myler who told Parliament that they warned Murdoch that the scandal was bigger than he had publicly acknowledged. Their testimony ”displays inconsistencies on this subject, while my evidence has always been consistent,” Murdoch writes. Before taking charge of the UK print unit in late 2007 he “did not follow the details” of earlier arrests. Even afterward he was ”never intimately involved with the workings of News Of The World, or any of the other newspapers within News International” in the belief that “a newsroom should be run by the editor.” Read More »

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Rupert Murdoch Turns 81: Looking Back On A Reputation-Shattering Year

By | Sunday March 11, 2012 @ 12:13pm PDT

Today’s Rupert Murdoch’s birthday, normally a day for reflection. But it’s hard to believe he feels much joy in that exercise as he considers how much his world changed over the last 12 months — and especially since July, when the UK hacking scandal exploded into public view. A year ago Murdoch seemed to be on top of the world, with plans to prepare his children to take charge of a growing global media empire. Now he’s struggling to keep his assets, and legacy, intact. Here are a few of the more important ways Murdoch’s life changed in his first year as an octogenarian. Read More »

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Will Rupert Murdoch Unload Newspapers With James Gone From News International?

That question seems to intrigue News Corp watchers far more than any debate about succession plans following today’s announcement that Deputy COO James Murdoch is relinquishing his role as executive chairman of the UK publishing unit. News Corp shares are up about 2% at mid-day, a contrast to the overall market which is slightly down. And many believe it’s because James’ departure from the publishing business gives investors a little more reason to hope that Rupert might ditch some or all of his newspapers. He loves the assets, but the Street considers them to be growth-challenged distractions. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker calls the news about James “one sign” that newspapers “may be spun, sold or otherwise shed.” Yesterday COO Chase Carey said that News Corp recognized such a move might help its stock price, which he says is “woefully undervalued.” But he tried to douse any belief that a plan to unload newspapers is on the company’s front-burner. “Our focus is on managing these businesses and improving profitability,” he said.

Why so little attention to James and his role in the line of succession?  It’s now a foregone conclusion that Read More »

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James Murdoch Out As News International Executive Chairman

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 6:14am PST

He’ll focus on News Corp’s pay TV operations once he moves to New York, the company says. It makes no mention of the fact that under James Murdoch’s watch at News International the UK publishing operation became embroiled in a humongous phone hacking and bribery scandal. But it’s telling that Tom Mockridge, who became CEO of News International in July, will now report to COO Chase Carey — not Murdoch, who retains his title as News Corp’s Deputy COO.  Also noteworthy: CEO Rupert Murdoch’s citation of James’ accomplishments doesn’t include his management of UK publishing. James credits the unit’s “tremendous momentum” to ”the leadership of my father and Tom Mockridge.” News Corp has scoffed at speculation that it might dump its troubled newspapers — a move that some investors believe would boost the stock price.  “Our focus is on managing these businesses and improving profitability,” Carey told investors yesterday.

Here’s today’s release about James:

New York, NY February 29, 2012 – News Corporation today announced that, following his relocation to the Company’s headquarters in New York, James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, has relinquished his position as Executive Chairman of News International, its UK publishing unit. Tom Mockridge, Chief Executive Officer of News  International, will continue in his post and will report to News Corporation President and COO Chase Carey.

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Bloomberg: Rupert Murdoch Authorized Hacking Scandal “Containment Strategy”

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 9:01am PST

If you have any interest in News Corp’s News Of The World hacking scandal, then you should check out the compelling BusinessWeek story that Bloomberg’s highly respected legal affairs reporter Greg Farrell has this morning about a key moment in the chronology last year: Farrell provides a fly-on-the-wall account of a London dinner party on May 19 where Rupert — hoping to spare himself and his son, Deputy COO James, from embarrassment — decided to let Rebekah Brooks, then CEO of News International, continue to manage the company’s response to the widening scandal. In doing so, Murdoch took the advice of former New York schools chancellor Joel Klein and an outside lawyer, Brendan Sullivan, who defended Oliver North in the Iran-Contra hearings. But he also ignored the recommendation of News Corp’s then-general counsel Lon Jacobs. He had urged Murdoch to take charge and launch his own investigation, instead of letting the London group investigate itself. The CEO told the lawyers, COO Chase Carey, Brooks and others at the party: ”This is going to be handled by Joel and Brendan. I will handle the board. Everyone else stay out of it,” BW reports. Sullivan told the gathering that “Rebekah is innocent.” Two weeks later, Jacobs resigned. Read More »

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Editor Of Murdoch’s ‘The Times’ Apologizes For Email Hacking

By | Tuesday February 7, 2012 @ 11:46am PST

In May 2009, a reporter working for the News Corp-controlled UK newspaper, The Times, hacked into the email of an anonymous police blogger. Today, The Times’ editor, James Harding, apologized to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics saying, “I sorely regret the intrusion into Richard Horton’s email account by a journalist in our newsroom. On behalf of the newspaper, I apologise.” Last week, British Labour Party MP Tom Watson said the Metropolitan police had begun an investigation into The Times over email hacking. That would make it the third News Corp controlled paper to be subject to related probes. Harding, who was recalled today to Lord Justice Leveson’s chamber, previously told the inquiry that a Times reporter had been given a formal warning after accessing private emails without authorization. Today, he added, “I squarely do not approve of what has happened.”

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News Corp Scandal: Scotland Yard Goes After Reporters Who Embarrassed Them

Scotland Yard is demanding that reporters at The Guardian disclose the confidential sources that enabled the paper to break the News Corp phone hacking scandal story. The police are citing the UK’s Official Secrets Act — normally used against spies — in a legal bid to get the names. It was The Guardian’s revelation in July that Scotland Yard had poorly handled its investigation of the News of the World for hacking the phone of a missing murdered girl that set the scandal in motion. The fallout from that and allegations that the police were influenced by News Corp officials resulted in the ouster of top Scotland Yard officers. It also caused Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to close the News of the World, abandon its BSkyB takeover bid and submit to the current series of legal and government inquiries. The Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger said, “We shall resist this extraordinary demand to the utmost.” Former Labour minister Tom Watson said: “It is an outrageous abuse and completely unacceptable that, having failed to investigate serious wrongdoing at the News of the World for more than a decade, the police should now be trying to move against The Guardian.”

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UK Hacking Case: News Corp Was Paying Former Editor While He Held Political Post

By | Monday August 22, 2011 @ 3:26pm PDT

Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World arrested on suspicion of involvement in phone hacking and bribing the police, was receiving payments from News International after starting work as the Conservative Party’s Director of Communications, the BBC reports. Coulson’s received hundreds of thousands of dollars in severance payments until the end of 2007, which means he continued to be financially linked to the UK division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for several months during his tenure as David Cameron’s main media adviser, the BBC reports. The Conservative and Labor parties traditionally battle for the endorsement of Murdoch’s papers.

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