News Corp. Obstruction Evidence Mounts – Bloomberg
Parliament may issue a report as early as this month on its probe into phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s U.K. tabloids. Its last report on the topic, from 2010, expressed exasperation at what lawmakers described as “collective amnesia” on the part of News International’s top management.
Based on disclosures since the last report, the forthcoming one will probably be even more critical of James Murdoch, Brooks and other senior News International executives who testified last year before the House of Commons’ select committee on culture, media and sport.
In addition to the parliamentary inquiry, News International is the subject of three separate criminal probes involving phone hacking, bribery of police officers and computer hacking. News International is also in the process of settling civil cases brought by celebrities and other public figures who claim their voice-mail accounts were regularly hacked.
Judge Vos admonished the company in open court in January over what he described as an intentional effort to delete e-mails pertaining to phone hacking.
In addition to his accusations about destruction of evidence, he ordered several laptops that had escaped scrutiny to be examined. The judge said they might contain clues as to why so many of the company’s e-mails were deleted as victim lawsuits against News International piled up.
The company is also center stage in the Leveson Inquiry, a London tribunal led by Judge Brian Leveson. He is charged with looking into the ethics of the media in the U.K.
It was at this inquiry on Feb. 27 that the e-mail about Brooks’ knowledge of phone hacking in 2006 was read aloud. It was sent in September of that year by Tom Crone, an in-house lawyer, to Andy Coulson, who was at that time editor of News of the World.
Crone wrote the note a month after the arrest of Clive Goodman, the Royal Family reporter whose arrest for hacking kicked off the scandal. At the time, the police were trying, unsuccessfully, to get News International to give them access to Goodman’s files.
The reporter and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who did contract work for News of the World, were charged with the illegal interception of voice mails belonging to members of the Royal Family and their staff.
The e-mail begins: “Here’s [what] Rebekah told me about info relayed to her by cops.”