News Corp may face US inquiry after Sun arrests at News International | Media | The Guardian
t was reported on Sunday night that the solicitor representing the family of Milly Dowler and other alleged victims of phone hacking is to take his battle against Murdoch to America. Mark Lewis, one of several lawyers representing clients pursuing claims against the News of the World for phone hacking, is expected to travel to the US within the next few weeks to meet American lawyers to discuss legal action there. Lewis was reported to be in the “advanced stages” of bringing at least one case against Murdoch’s company in the US. He said he was “not prepared to deny” the reports.
The threat of prosecution under the US foreign corrupt practices act, which criminalises the payment of bribes to public officials by American companies overseas, exposes the company to tens of millions of dollars in fines and the risk of imprisonment of its executive officers – and brings the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal to the US.
Mike Koehler, an expert in FCPA law at Butler University, said the arrests on Saturday marked an escalation in the risk of an FCPA prosecution for the New York-based News Corp. “This spreads the alleged bribery to a completely different newspaper, to a different segment of the company and to other public officials,” he said.
Eric Holder, the US attorney general, launched a preliminary investigation into News Corp’s activities last July. The FBI is known to be involved in the investigation, but its activities have so far remained at an early stage, and News Corp sources in London say the investigators have not yet been in direct contact with the MSC.