FBI poised to step up investigation into News Corp – Crime – UK – The Independent
he FBI has told Scotland Yard it is “prepared to step in” if the Metropolitan Police fails to investigate the full extent of impropriety in the Murdoch empire. The warning came at a meeting between the transatlantic law enforcement groups at the Ministry of Justice in London.
Every piece of evidence surrendered by News Corporation to Scotland Yard is also being passed to US investigators. The disclosures, which prompted more than 20 arrests, including Sun journalists, have also sparked a separate FBI inquiry into whether News Corporation bribed officials in Russia. US investigators are collecting evidence given to the Leveson inquiry and parliamentary select committees.
“The FBI made it perfectly clear that if the British police drop the ball on this they will pick it up and run with it,” said one legal source familiar with the US investigation.
Fear of such a US investigation, where financial penalties and potential jail sentences are held to be more punitive than in the UK, is one reason cited why News Corp, Murdoch’s US holding company, has stepped up efforts to assist UK police in recent months. It is widely believed to be one of the reasons it handed over to police a cache of millions of emails containing evidence of possible crimes, to the dismay of many of its own staff. The Murdoch operation has assembled a team of US legal “big guns” to deal with inquiries by the FBI and other investigators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.