News Corp’s UK Press Arm Investigated As ‘Corporate Suspect’: Reports

NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor
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News International, the British newspaper division of News Corp which was recently renamed News UK, is being actively investigated by Scotland Yard, say reports from Reuters and The Independent. The probe is said to be seeking possible criminal violations related to the phone-hacking scandal at the now defunct News Of The World as well as allegations of illegal payments to public officials by journalists. Since 2011, police attention has appeared focused on employees of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled businesses, but The Independent says investigators are treating News International as a “corporate suspect.” Reuters, quoting a source familiar with the matter, said detectives and prosecutors are also actively considering action against News Corp as a corporation. Were corporate action to be taken, Reuters opines, it would lead to more expense for News Corp as well as potentially further tarnishing its image. If company directors or executives were held accountable, it could impact News Corp’s ownership of BSkyB since broadcast license holders have to be deemed “fit and proper.” However, BSkyB no longer has ties to the press business, having become part of the entertainment company after News Corp split into two entities. According to the reports, News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee was informed more than a year ago that action was being considered. The reports say it was this revelation that led News Corp to scale back its cooperation with detectives. In a statement, News UK said, “We have co-operated with all relevant authorities throughout the process and our history of assistance is a matter of record.”

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