Ex-Dow Jones chief Les Hinton questioned in News Corp. phone-hacking case

Dylan Stableford

Les Hinton, who resigned as Dow Jones CEO in July in the wake of a growing phone hacking scandal that continues to engulf News Corporation, appeared via video on Monday in front of the select committee of Parliament in charge of the British investigation.

The last time Hinton testified before Parliament, in 2009, he told the committee that the phone hacking at News International was limited to a lone staffer--the former News of the World editor Clive Goodman.

"There was never firm evidence provided or suspicion provided that I am aware of that implicated anybody else other than Clive within the staff of the News of the World," Hinton said Monday. "It just did not happen."

After his 2009 appearance, Parliament released a report accusing Hinton and News International executives of "collective amnesia." Hinton's appearance on Monday likely did little to change their collective opinion.

As the Guardian's liveblog noted, Hinton's "repeated use of 'I can't recall' and 'I don't know' also reveals that he is not in precise command of the events of 2006/2007, when the phone hacking allegations first surfaced."

Among the other noteworthy things Hinton told the committee, via the Guardian:

• He has not spoken with the Metropolitan Police about phone hacking.
• Nor has he spoken with Viet Dinh, the News Corp. board member in charge of the company's internal investigation into phone hacking charges.
• He was not personally involved in the internal investigations into phone hacking at News International when he was executive chairman, but that stepping down was nonetheless the right thing to do.
• There is "no reason" Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman and CEO, should lose his job over the phone hacking case.

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