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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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News Of The (Media) World: Split Decision Frees Rebekah Brooks, Cuffs Andy Coulson In Murdoch’s Hacking Scandal

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 8:24am PDT

News Of The (Media) World: Split Decision Frees Rebekah Brooks, Cuffs Andy Coulson In Murdoch’s Hacking ScandalUPDATES WITH NEW INFORMATION: A 130-day trial highlighted by testimony as lurid as the tabloid headlines at its center ended today with a split decision for two of media mogul Rupert Murdoch‘s most trusted consiglieres. Rebekah Brooks, the flame-haired former head of Murdoch’s U.K. print operations, was found not guilty on five charges related to the notorious telephone-hacking scandal that resulted in the 2011 shuttering of the News Of The World scandal sheet. The official jury findings were not guilty on one count of  conspiracy to hack voicemails, two counts of conspiracy to pay public officials and two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justiceImage (2) Andy-Coulson__131031225952.jpg for post 624902

Brooks’ successor, bespectacled tabloid editor Andy Coulson, the  former communications chief to Prime Minister David Cameron, may face prison time, having been found guilty of conspiring to hack phones while he ran the News Of The World. The jury is still considering charges of misconduct in public office against Coulson and former News of the World royals editor Clive Goodman.

Coulson, a former lover of Brooks’s, was the only one among seven on trial found guilty of conspiracy to intercept mobile phone calls and messages. The Cameron connection will undoubtedly exacerbate reaction to the decision, as the verdicts reverberate through UK and U.S. political and media centers.

Image (1) Rupert-Murdoch__130216061256.jpg for post 484229News UK, formerly known as News International and part of Murdoch’s News Corp, said in a statement: “We said … Read More »

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Phone-Hacking Trial: Rebekah Brooks Cleared Of One Charge As Defense Begins

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 5:46am PST

rebekah brooksRebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International (now News UK), took the stand for the first time today in London’s long-running phone-hacking trial. This was Brooks’ first time in the witness box since the criminal trial stemming from the phone-hacking scandal at the now-shuttered News Of The World began in October. After nearly four months, prosecutors rested their case this week and the defense is just beginning. According to local media reports, the presiding judge, John Saunders, instructed jurors that Brooks is to be found not guilty on one of the five counts against her. She was acquitted on the single charge of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office related to payments The Sun allegedly made for a picture of Prince William wearing a bikini at a costume party. “There is no case to answer for Mrs Brooks” on the charge, the judge said. The Guardian reports he told the jury his decision was “a matter of law.” He did not provide further detail, but The Associated Press reports Saunders said there was “considerable uncertainty” about the photo’s provenance. The photo was taken when William, now the Duke of Cambridge, was at Sandhurst Military Academy and Brooks was editor of The Sun.

Related: Trial Of Former Murdoch Newspaper Lieutenants Starts In London

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UPDATE: Newspaper Groups Balk At UK Press Reforms; Watchdog Would Oversee Industry And Level Fines

By | Monday March 18, 2013 @ 4:09pm PDT

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.

UPDATE, 4:09 PM: The UK government today announced a fresh sweep of press regulation reforms, brought about as a result of the News Of The World phone-hacking brouhaha. But key newspaper groups, including Rupert Murdoch’s News International, have refused to endorse the government’s proposals. A late-night round of cross-party negotiations prevented a potentially embarrassing rebellion from within David Cameron’s own party as the two proposals were brought to consensus. The final reforms will see British papers regulated by a watchdog run completely independently of the media. Fines of up to £1M — thought to be the toughest in the world — would be handed down to the worst offenders. And the only legal statute relates to the right of ministers to change the rules in future, designed to prevent any possible corruptions to freedom of speech.

In a group statement signed by News International, along with Daily Mail publishers Associated Newspapers, the Telegraph media group and Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell, newspaper proprietors say the proposals feature “several deeply contentious issues which have not yet been resolved with the industry”. As one senior exec told the Guardian, “This is a political deal between the three parties and Hacked Off,” referring to the campaign group fronted by Hugh Grant. “It is not a deal with the newspapers.” Read More »

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More Payouts In News Corp Hacking Cases

By | Friday February 8, 2013 @ 8:30am PST

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.

A swathe of high-profile names are getting big paychecks from Rupert Murdoch’s News International this week as the company tries to consign the News Of The World phone-hacking scandal to the past. Doctor Who star Christopher Ecclestone and actor-turned-press ethics campaigner Hugh Grant will both receive “substantial damages”. There are more payouts, along with public apologies, for Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and celebrity magician Uri Geller, bringing the total number of settlements to 143. But with police still in the process of notifying victims, new cases continue to be brought forward. American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe and former Crystal Palace Football Club owner Simon Jordan are among those filing new claims. A lawyer working on behalf of victims said the settlements reflected an urge by News Corp‘s UK publishing arm to persuade victims to drop lawsuits ahead of a case management hearing held today, according to the Guardian.

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Police Officer Is First To Get Jail Time In News Of The World Phone-Hacking Scandal

By | Friday February 1, 2013 @ 4:30am PST

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage

The Metropolitan Police officer charged for trying to sell information about the force’s phone-hacking investigation has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Earlier this month, April Casburn became the first person found guilty under Operation Elveden – the probe into inappropriate payments to police as a result of the News Of The World phone-hacking scandal – and her sentence represents the first jail time handed down. The sentencing judge said Casburn’s actions, when she phoned News Of The World offering to sell information about the phone-hacking investigation, were a “corrupt attempt to make money.” Her defense claimed she had been frustrated in her capacity as a counter-terrorism officer when resources were diverted to phone hacking and had made “a mad telephone call.” The judge said Casburn’s sentence would have been three years had she not been in the process of adopting a child. Her actions were “a truly dire step for a police officer to take,” he said.

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Global Showbiz Briefs: China Box Office, UK Phone Hacking Deals And More

By | Thursday January 10, 2013 @ 10:14pm PST

China’s 2012 Box Office Up 30% To $2.74B
China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has released updated box office figures for 2012 with sales hitting $2.74B for a 30.18% increase over last year. SARFT said the nation produced 893 total films last year including 745 features and 33 animated pictures, the Xinhua news agency reported. On its way to an estimated 16,000 screens by 2015, the country is adding 10.5 screens a day. As noted last week, however, those screens are increasingly drawing crowds for foreign films which have eaten into the local share. Imports took $1.4B in box office for 51.54% of the market in 2012. Still, homegrown hit Lost In Thailand recently became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time with nearly $190M in less than a month of release. Read More »

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News Corp Settles With Hugh Grant In Phone-Hacking Case

By | Friday December 21, 2012 @ 3:45pm PST

The actor was one of the most high-profile victims of the scandal that ended in the shuttering of the News Corp-owned UK tabloid News Of The World. Hugh Grant‘s settlement for damages with Rupert Murdoch’s British publishing arm News International was for a “substantial sum”, his lawyer said today, and will be donated to Grant’s Hacked Off campaign, which is advocating for responsible press. Grant had filed his complaint in September. Earlier this month, News International settled 22 other cases related to the scandal, which led into a UK government inquiry into press ethics and several ongoing probes into corruption and bribery. Grant also testified before the Leveson Inquiry, which after a 16-month investigation called for an independent regulator to oversee the British press, an order UK publishers are now trying to figure out how to implement.

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News Corp Begins Publishing Spin-Off Process With SEC Filing

By | Friday December 21, 2012 @ 5:04am PST

There are some interesting nuggets for investors in what’s mostly a technical document that kicks off the process that will lead to the spinoff of News Corp‘s publishing assets into a new, publicly traded company. It’s ”another important step forward in the evolution of our company and in the establishment of two independent global leaders in Fox Group and the new News Corporation,” CEO Rupert Murdoch says. The filing notes that the assets going into the new company generated a net loss of $92M in the three months ending September 30, down from a $38M profit in the period last year, on revenues of $2.13B, -1.5%. That includes a $115M impairment charge, with $112M for newspapers following a restructuring and layoffs in the UK and Australia. The publishing company assets also lost $2.08B in the fiscal year that ended in June, down from a $678M profit, on $8.65B in revenues, -4.8%. Much of the decline is due to the closing of the scandal-ridden News Of The Worldtabloid. The spinoff will include Fox Sports Australia which, for some strange reason, News Corp says “favorably complements our publishing and education portfolio.” The document notes that UK and U.S. officials are still investigating the hacking and bribery scandals (referred to here as “U.K. Newspaper Matters”). The proceedings “could damage our reputation and might impair our ability to conduct our business.” Although the company has resolved many cases, “management believes that it is probable that additional claims will be filed.” Read More »

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First Criminal Trial In Phone-Hacking Scandal Eyes September 2013 Start

By | Wednesday September 26, 2012 @ 3:37am PDT

Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and other former journalists from the now-shuttered News Of The World tabloid were in a London court today to face charges related to the phone-hacking scandal. After a short hearing at the Old Bailey court, a provisional trial date was set for September 9, 2013. Brooks, the former chief exec of News Corp.’s UK press ar News International, is accused of three counts of alleged phone hacking, including a general charge that could affect as many as 600 victims including celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. She also faces three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Read More »

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Hugh Grant Files High Court Claim Over Phone Hacking: UK Guardian

By | Thursday September 13, 2012 @ 12:43pm PDT

Hugh Grant has taken his first legal action against the News Corp.-owned News International over alleged phone hacking at the now-defunct News Of The World tabloid. Grant filed a complaint at the high court today, according to The Guardian, and has said any financial damages he receives will go toward helping fellow victims. Tomorrow is the deadline for civil damage claims at the court. Grant has been highly vocal in the phone-hacking scandal and appeared before Lord Justice Brian Leveson’s inquiry into UK media ethics in November last year. He also recently became a director of a new anti-press intrusion nonprofit set up by Hacked Off, The Guardian notes. Other high-profile names to have lodged claims include Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and soccer player Wayne Rooney. News International is expected to face about 100 new claims by the Friday deadline, The Guardian says.

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More Arrests In Phone-Hacking Scandal As Inquiry Chief Preps Report On Media Ethics

By | Thursday August 30, 2012 @ 8:57am PDT

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage:

Metropolitan police detectives have been busy in the past two days, making further arrests in relation to alleged phone and computer hacking at Rupert Murdoch‘s UK press division. A man believed to be former News International legal exec, Tom Crone, was taken into custody this morning, and Patrick Foster, a former journalist at News Corp.’s UK flagship The Times, was arrested yesterday.

Crone’s arrest has not been confirmed by police, but News Corp.-owned Sky News and other media are reporting he is the 60-year-old man detained this morning. The arrest is understood to have resulted from News International’s Management and Standards Committee turning over information to the police, The Guardian reports. Crone was head of legal at the now-shuttered News Of The World. He resigned when the scandal blew up in July 2011. He is also a key player since he claims to have warned former News International chairman James Murdoch that phone-hacking at the paper was not limited to “one rogue reporter.” Read More »

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Hundreds Of Alleged VIP Phone-Hacking Victims To Be Named: UK Independent

By | Wednesday August 22, 2012 @ 1:40am PDT

It’s expected to amount to the biggest single revelation of alleged phone-hacking victims. Prosecutors are preparing to announce the names of up to 600 people related to a criminal case against former News Of The World staffers. High-profile names already to surface include Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Sadie Frost, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Within weeks, however, the public face of the list will grow, according to The Independent. Expected to come to light are the names of more actors along with pop stars and politicians, the newspaper reports. Police are said to be contacting hundreds of people to let them know.
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Former News Of The World Journalists Given September Hearing Date

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 date of Sept 26. That’s the same day that former News International chief exec Rebekah Brooks is expected to have a plea hearing on charges of perverting the course of justice amid the investigation into phone hacking at the News Corp-controlled tabloid. Coulson – who was also the former press secretary to UK prime minister David Cameron – and the other journalists have each been charged with conspiring to intercept the voice mails of well-known people and/or those associated with them. Those well-known people include Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Sadie Frost, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Earlier this month, Brooks, who has been arrested twice, was officially charged with phone hacking and will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on that charge on Sept 3.

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Former News Of The World Editors To Face Phone-Hacking Charges; Alleged Victims Include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jude Law

Rebekah Brooks Phone Hacking ChargesRebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News Corp‘s News International and a one-time editor of the News Of The World, will face charges in connection with phone-hacking, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service announced this morning. Andy Coulson, the former News Of The World editor who went on to be Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications director, will also face charges. Along with a group of former News Of The World journalists, they are each charged with “conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, from 3rd October 2000 to 9th August 2006. The communications in question are the voicemail messages of well-known people and/or those associated with them,” said the CPS. Those well-known people include Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Sadie Frost, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. In all, there are more than 600 people whom the prosecution will say are victims of the offense. Brooks is specifically facing charges relating to the alleged hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone as are a number of the other former journalists. The full list of charges can be read here. In total, eight people learned they would be charged today, while the CPS found insufficient evidence in the case of three other suspects. Decisions regarding two other suspects were deferred.

Related: News Corp Scandal One Year Later: Where Does The Publishing Arm Go From Here? Read More »

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Private Eye Must Reveal Who Commissioned Phone Hacking At News Of The World

News Of The World Glenn MulcairePrivate detective Glenn Mulcaire is not protected under the UK’s equivalent to the Fifth Amendment, the Supreme Court said Wednesday. After a nearly two-year legal battle to avoid such disclosure, Mulcaire will have to turn over possibly self-incriminating evidence, the names of journalists at the News Of The World who allegedly instructed him to intercept voice messages, and how victims were allegedly targeted, according to The Guardian. The ruling stems from a breach of privacy suit brought against Mulcaire by Nicola Phillips, assistant to celebrity publicist Max Clifford. Phillips’ attorney Mark Lewis contends the decision establishes precedent. If so, it could impact the ongoing investigations into phone hacking at the defunct tabloid by potentially uncovering the extent of such practices and who was aware of them. Read More »

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Global Biz Briefs: Google-YouTube, ‘Foosball 3D’, Edinburgh Film Festival

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 2:30am PDT

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. Read More »

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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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Andy Coulson Testimony Shifts Focus From Rupert Murdoch To David Cameron

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 ultimately became Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief, was giving evidence before the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics. He also dismissed rumors that he had kept a detailed diary during his stint working for Cameron. But, it was revealed that he may have had access to government secrets that his security clearance did not cover. It’s also understood that the Conservatives did only perfunctory background checks on Coulson before he was hired. Those revelations come as the inquiry has recently begun to emphasize its focus on the relationship between Rupert Murdoch‘s camp and UK politicians. But rather than further tarnish the Murdoch name in Britain, the inquiry has lately had the effect of shifting attention from the Murdochs to Downing Street. The issue heated up with last month’s revelations of communications between Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s office and that of James Murdoch during the BSkyB bid process that News Corp eventually aborted. Cameron since has been under pressure to launch an inquiry into Hunt’s ministerial conduct, something he has been reluctant to do.

Related: UK Prime Minister David Cameron Denies “Grand Deal” With Murdochs On BSkyB

Coulson told the inquiry today that he didn’t think he was “pushed … Read More »

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