Posts tagged News of the World
Posts tagged News of the World
Oh, this is just delicious:
James Murdoch and News Corp could face corporate legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic that involve criminal charges, fines and forfeiture of assets as the escalating phone-hacking scandal risks damaging his chances of taking control of Rupert Murdoch’s US-based media empire.
As deputy chief operating officer of News Corp – the US-listed company that is the ultimate owner of News International (NI), which in turn owns the News of the World, the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun – the younger Murdoch has admitted he misled parliament over phone hacking, although he has stated he did not have the complete picture at the time. There have also been reports that employees routinely made payments to police officers, believed to total more than £100,000, in return for information.
The payments could leave News Corp – and possibly James Murdoch himself – facing the possibility of prosecution in the US under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – legislation designed to stamp out bad corporate behaviour that carries severe penalties for anyone found guilty of breaching it – and in the UK under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 which outlaws the interception of communications.
Tony Woodcock, a partner at the City law firm Stephenson Harwood, said section 79 of the 2000 Act enabled criminal proceedings to be brought against not only a company, but also a director or similar officer where the offence was committed with their “consent or connivance” or was “attributable to any neglect on their part”. Woodcock said: "This could embrace a wide number of people at the highest level within an organisation, such as a chief executive – not just the individual who ‘pushed the button’ allowing the intercept to take place or someone (perhaps less senior) who encouraged or was otherwise an accessory to the offence, such as an editor."
While the UK phone-hacking scandal has been met with outrage in the US, the hacking itself is unlikely to prompt Washington officials into action. But because NI is a subsidiary of the US company, any payments to UK police officers could trigger a justice department inquiry under the FCPA. The 1977 Act generally prohibits American companies and citizens from corruptly paying – or offering to pay – foreign officials to obtain or retain business. The Butler University law professor Mike Koehler, an FCPA expert, said: “I would be very surprised if the US authorities don’t become involved in this [NI] conduct.” He said the scandal appeared to qualify as an FCPA case on two counts. First, News Corp is a US-listed company, giving the US authorities jurisdiction to investigate allegations. “Second, perhaps more importantly, the act requires that payments to government officials need to be in the furtherance of ‘obtaining or retaining’ business. If money is being paid to officials, in this case the police, in order to get information to write sensational stories to sell newspapers, that would qualify,” he said.
Granted, it’s James Murdoch, not Rupert. But hey, anything that’s a burr under that bastard’s saddle is something I can support. And let’s get some justice for the victims of these unethical bastards and their phone hacking.
News International announced on Thursday that it is closing the News of the World after this Sunday’s edition, with no end in sight to the political and commercial fallout from the phone-hacking scandal after 72 hours of mounting crisis.
Sunday’s edition of the paper will be the last, News International chairman James Murdoch told News of the World staff on Thursday afternoon. Murdoch told employees at the 167-year-old title: "The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed to when it came to itself".
Murdoch said in a statement: “Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued.” Murdoch also conceded the company had "made statements to parliament without being in full possession of the facts. This was wrong".
He said “the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter” and that the company had passed information to the police which would demonstrate this. “Those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences,” he said.
Murdoch also said in his statement to staff that he had authorised out-of-court payments to victims of hacking: “I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so.” He added: “That was wrong and is a matter of serious regret.”
It is the first national newspaper to close since Rupert Murdoch shut News International mid-market tabloid Today in 1995.
I bolded a few statements for this reason: Could you imagine any Murdoch saying this about Fox News? News of the World was a tabloid, so I imagine must be easier to say… However, this is a victory for those who still value some shred of integrity in journalism. This tabloid helped to build Murdoch’s empire, particularly in the US. Glad to see it go.
The News of the World illegally targeted the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler and her family in March 2002, interfering with police inquiries into her disappearance, an investigation by the Guardian has established.
Scotland Yard is investigating the episode, which is likely to put new pressure on the then editor of the paper, Rebekah Brooks, now Rupert Murdoch’s chief executive in the UK; and the then deputy editor, Andy Coulson, who resigned in January as the prime minister’s media adviser…
Milly Dowler disappeared at the age of 13 on her way home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on 21 March 2002.
Detectives from Scotland Yard’s new inquiry into the phone hacking, Operation Weeting, are believed to have found evidence of the targeting of the Dowlers in a collection of 11,000 pages of notes kept by Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator jailed for phone hacking on behalf of the News of the World.
In the last four weeks the Met officers have approached Surrey police and taken formal statements from some of those involved in the original inquiry, who were concerned about how News of the World journalists intercepted – and deleted – the voicemail messages of Milly Dowler.
The messages were deleted by journalists in the first few days after Milly’s disappearance in order to free up space for more messages. As a result friends and relatives of Milly concluded wrongly that she might still be alive. Police feared evidence may have been destroyed…
The News of the World’s parent company News International, part of Murdoch’s media empire, said: “We have been co-operating fully with Operation Weeting since our voluntary disclosure in January restarted the investigation into illegal voicemail interception. This particular case is clearly a development of great concern and we will be conducting our own inquiry as a result. We will obviously co-operate fully with any police request on this should we be asked.”
Is there a low to which Rupert Murdoch and professional cronies will not sink? I’m curious.