Australian police probe News Corp allegations
Canberra: Australian police said on Wednesday they
are investigating a former senator's allegations that a News
Corp executive offered him favourable newspaper coverage and
"a special relationship" in return for voting against
Former Senator Bill O'Chee recently made the allegations
in a nine-page statement to police and they were published
Wednesday by Fairfax Media newspapers, rivals of Rupert
Murdoch's News Corp in Australia.
The newspapers reported that an unnamed executive of News
Corp's Australian subsidiary, News Ltd, offered O'Chee
inducements during a lunch on June 13, 1998, to vote against
his conservative government's legislation on the creation of
digital TV in Australia.
News Corp stood to profit from the legislation failing.
Australian Federal Police said in a statement today that
O'Chee's allegations had been under investigation since
"As this matter is ongoing, it would not be appropriate
to comment any further," the statement said.
Offering a senator a bribe or inducement to influence a
vote is an offense punishable by up to six months in prison.
O'Chee did not return an Associated Press phone call
A News Ltd spokesman also did not immediately respond to
a request for comment.
The allegations are embarrassing for News Corp, whose
ownership of 70 per cent of Australia's newspapers has raised
criticisms from within the government that Murdoch's empire
has too much control over Australian media.