UK MPs to grill Murdoch again on phone-hacking scandal

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 18:32

London: Rupert Murdoch will be hauled up for a second grilling by British MPs later this year, as lawmakers probe the phone-hacking scandal involving the US-based media mogul`s now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

Members of the House of Commons` Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which had quizzed Murdoch and his son James in July 2011 around allegations of phone-hacking involving the News of the World, voted yesterday to ask him to return in a few months` time in the late autumn.

82-year-old Murdoch will be expected to answer questions over a tape recording of a meeting he had in March with more than 20 Sun newspaper journalists who have been arrested in connection with alleged unlawful payments to police and other public officials for stories.

The recording reveals Murdoch apparently telling journalists that he regretted the level of cooperation given by News UK formerly News International ? to the investigation into illegal payments.

"Mr Murdoch welcomes the opportunity to return to the select committee and answer their questions. He looks forward to clearing up any misconceptions as soon as possible," a statement released by Murdoch`s spokesman said.

Members of the select committee have indicated that the questioning is likely to take place after the criminal trial of Murdoch`s former UK newspaper chief executive Rebekah Brooks scheduled for September.

Scotland Yard said, it will "fully assess" the contents of the recording of Murdoch`s comments in the meeting.
"We are seeking to obtain the tape of the meeting during which Rupert Murdoch appears to have been recorded. We will then assess the full contents of that tape," said Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police, Assistant Commissioner.

Exaro News, the website that published parts of the recording, said yesterday it was arranging to supply the evidence to Operation Elveden Scotland Yard`s probe into the scandal involving corrupt payments to public officials.

In the recordings from earlier this year, Murdoch purportedly told journalists that the culture of paying police officers for stories "existed at every newspaper in Fleet Street. Long since forgotten. But absolutely," and had existed long before Sun journalists had been arrested.

Murdoch also criticised the "incompetent" police investigation that led to the arrest of so many of his staff.
In one clip broadcast by Channel 4 News on British TV, a journalist asks Murdoch: "I`m pretty confident that the working practices that I`ve seen here are ones that I`ve inherited, rather than instigated. Would you recognise that all this predates many of our involvement here?"
Murdoch replies: "We`re talking about payments for news tips from cops. That`s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn`t instigate it."
News UK has maintained that Murdoch "never knew of payments made by Sun staff to police before News Corporation disclosed that to UK authorities."

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 18:32

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