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Hacking Update: “No Bombshell” As Les Hinton Testifies; James Murdoch Scheduled To Face MPs On November 10

UPDATE: Giving evidence to British MPs investigating the News Corp phone-hacking scandal this afternoon via video-link, former Wall Street Journal boss Les Hinton said he saw “no reason” why James Murdoch should resign. Hinton testified that he hasn’t spoken to the Metropolitan police about phone-hacking, nor has Viet Dinh, the independent News Corp board member who’s overseeing the company’s investigation into the scandal, questioned him. Hinton also wasn’t aware of any payments to police or other private detectives working for News International. And he was “not personally involved” in internal investigations into phone hacking at News International, the UK newspaper arm, when he was executive chairman. John Whittingdale, chairman of the UK parliamentary committee cross-examining Hinton, was overheard telling a fellow MP that Hinton’s evidence was “interesting, but that there was no bombshell there.”

PREVIOUS: News Corp deputy COO James Murdoch will face British MPs for a second time on November 10. He will defend himself as to whether he misled British politicians investigating the phone-hacking at the News Of The World. The $64,000 question is this: Did James pay $1.4M in hush money in 2008 to a hacking victim who could have disclosed that the scandal ran much deeper than the company publicly admitted? James said he didn’t. But three former News executives dispute the testimony he gave in July when he last faced MPs. His enemies say either James knew more about hacking than he admitted or, as chairman of UK newspaper arm News International, he ought to have known. Les Hinton, the former Wall Street Journal boss and Rupert Murdoch confidante, has been called to testify today. Read More »

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Scandal Ruins Plan For Elisabeth Murdoch To Join News Corp Board For Now

With independent board members privately rebelling and institutional investors publicly complaining about inadequate corporate governance in the wake of the UK phone-hacking scandal, News Corp’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Los Angeles ahead of the company’s fiscal year-end earnings release the next day. Now the media giant’s Wall Street Journal is reporting that Elisabeth Murdoch and the media giant have shelved plans for her to join the board for now. The 42-year-old daughter of News Corp Chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch was expected to join the board as part of her return to the company through News Corp’s acquisition of the Shine Group, the television-production company she runs. Rupert had even said in a news release in February that he expected her to join the board when the £415 million ($680 million) Shine acquisition was completed in April. News Corp independent director Viet Dinh said in a statement Friday that Elisabeth ”felt it would be inappropriate” to join the company board at its annual meeting later this year and the company’s independent directors agreed. Read More »

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