Jump to content
The Education Forum

Rupert Murdoch and the Corruption of the British Media


Recommended Posts

''on the part of the company's subsidiaries in America, Australia, Europe, India and China was now almost inevitable.''

ok, once more: ''...rica, Australia, Eu...'' , once upon a time in an upside down place... it's an interesting look that stretches far back in time (50+) years and dabbles in defense, union busting, kingmaking, and strangely enough maybe even the CIA. ''what goes..''

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 1.1k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Hoare gave a filmed interview with the BBC. Can this be used as evidence in court? Not only did he say that Coulson ordered phone-hacking, but the police were paid for information. In a BBC radio interview he said Coulson's insistence he did not know of the practice was "a lie, it is simply a lie". Hoare said he was once a close friend of Coulson's, and told the New York Times the two first worked together at the Sun, where, Hoare said, he played recordings of hacked messages for Coulson. At the News of the World, Hoare said, he continued to inform Coulson of his activities.

The police kept him quiet by interviewing him under caution rather than as a witness. Is it a coincidence that Hoare died on the same day that the John Yates, the man who said the case did not need to be reopened, resigned (he did this instead of being suspended and investigated).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rupert Murdoch gets a plastic-plate filled with shaving foam shoved in his face. Inside the Parliamentary committee room where he and his son are being "interrogated" about the scandal. His wife leaped to his defence.

:ice

Link to post
Share on other sites

10 things we learned from the Met police at the phone-hacking hearing

Sir Paul Stephenson, John Yates and Dick Fedorcio provided some illuminating moments in front of the select committee

By Peter Walker

guardian.co.uk,

Tuesday 19 July 2011 16.07 BST

1. David Cameron's chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, turned down the opportunity for the prime minister to be briefed on the fact that Neil Wallis was giving PR advice to the Metropolitan police, according to the force. The outgoing Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson first alluded to an unnamed "No 10 official" who briefed the force that Cameron should not be "compromised" over the issue. The outgoing assistant commissioner John Yates subsequently named the official as Llewellyn.

2. The buck does not always stop at the top in the Met. Stephenson deflected a number of tough questions by telling MPs this was a matter for Yates, giving evidence later.

3. No one properly checked Wallis before he began work for Scotland Yard. The force's head of PR, Dick Fedorcio, told MPs that "due diligence" was carried out by Yates, even though Yates and Wallis were friends. Not so, said Yates: all he did was make a single phone call to Wallis to ask whether anything he had done could "embarrass" the force.

4. Stephenson resigned despite, he believed, still having the full support of Theresa May, the home secretary, London's mayor, Boris Johnson, and the bulk of the force. He told MPs: "It was against the advice of many, many colleagues – and, indeed, my wife." He added: "I'm not leaving because I was pushed or threatened."

5. Yates passed on the CV of Wallis's daughter within the force, thus possibly assisting her to get a job with the Met. He insisted he had done nothing wrong but "simply acted as a postbox".

6. The Metropolitan police has 45 press officers, 10 of whom previously worked for News International, figures revealed by Stephenson.

7. Corporate PR consultancy can be a lucrative business. The Met received three tenders for a two-day-a-month contract to advise senior officers on press matters. The winning bid and "by far the cheapest", came from Wallis's company, at £1,000 a day.

8. Stephenson is not a fan of ex-colleague Andy Hayman's new career as a journalist. Asked whether he reads Hayman's Times column, the response was: "No, I do not."

9. Stephenson was determined to go out with a bang. He began quoting (inexactly) Macbeth on his resignation – "If it's done then best it's done quickly" – before vehemently defending his £12,000 free stay at Champneys health spa. He signed off with a clearly pre-prepared statement of defiance, describing his resignation as "an act of leadership".

10. We are living in strange times: there have been very few previous select committee hearings at which a Conservative MP (Mark Reckless) and a commissioner of the Metropolitan police go out of their way to praise the Guardian

Link to post
Share on other sites

Murdochs Say Top Executives Didn’t Know of Phone Hacking

The New York Times

By ALAN COWELL and GRAHAM BOWLEY

July 19, 2011

LONDON — A protester disrupted the appearance of Rupert Murdoch and his son James at a parliamentary committee hearing on Tuesday, apparently by attempting to hit Rupert Murdoch with a paper plate full of shaving cream. Mr. Murdoch appeared unhurt.

The disruption happened near the end of nearly three hours of sustained questioning by British lawmakers over the phone hacking scandal that has seized public life in Britain, raising questions about the police, politicians and the media elite in the worst crisis to confront Prime Minister David Cameron.

After questioning the Murdochs, the committee heard terstimony from Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News International, the British newspaper outpost of the Murdoch empire, who resigned last Friday and was arrested and questioned by police on Sunday.

Ms. Brooks insisted that the Murdoch company acted “quickly and decisively” against phone hacking once it had seen new evidence of the extent of the practice in December 2010. Ms. Brooks is a former editor of The News of the World, the tabloid at the epicenter of the hacking scandal, which the company shut down earlier this month. She told the committee that while she was editor she employed private investigators, but only for legitimate inquiries, and she denied paying police officers for information.

Earlier, television pictures showed a young man in a checked shirt holding a plate near Mr. Murdoch’s head, and minutes later showed the man outside the committee room in police custody, his face covered in foam. Inside the room, a woman’s voice was heard shouting “no, no, no” as the man seemed to approach Rupert Murdoch and was intercepted by his wife, Wendi Deng, who launched herself at the attacker.

“Why didn’t you see what was happening?” James Murdoch was heard asking police, British news reports said.

The session was suspended, but resumed some 15 minutes later. Rupert Murdoch was no longer wearing a jacket. The identity of the attacker was not immediately known.

In a separate development, the BBC reported the existence of previously undisclosed indirect links between figures under investigation in the scandal and Prime Minister Cameron, who has been criticized by the opposition for hiring a former editor of The News of the World, Andy Coulson, as his head of communications.

In a new disclosure that threatened to bring the scandal closer to Mr. Cameron, the BBC said that, in the run-up to last year’s elections, Mr. Coulson sought advice from another former News of the World executive, Neil Wallis, who has since been arrested in connection with the phone hacking investigation and had worked for Scotland Yard after he left The News of the World.

The Murdochs spent much of their time before the committee, both before and after the disruption, insisting that they were deeply sorry over the revelations of widespread unethical practices at their British newspapers, that they knew little or nothing about them and that they had not tried to cover them up.

“This is the most humble day of my life,” Mr. Murdoch senior said early in the hearing, speaking in a modest committee room with his words broadcast live around the world. He repeated that view nearly verbatim in a prepared statement that he read at the end of his testimony, saying it was the most humble day of his career.

Towards the end of his testimony, Rupert Murdoch was asked by Louise Mensch, a Conservative lawmaker, if he had ever considered resigning.

“No,” he said.

Why not? “Because I feel that people that I trusted let me down, I think that they behaved disgracefully,” he said. “Frankly, I am the best person to clean this up.”

The hearing offered the remarkable spectacle of one of the world’s most powerful media magnates under the harsh spotlight of public scrutiny, sometimes seeming unfamiliar with the matters raised by the panel and frequently denying knowledge of them, while at the same time insisting that no one at their company had been “willfully blind.”

The Murdochs’ appearance preceded a separate appearance before Parliament’s select committee on culture, media and sport by Rebekah Brooks, who resigned four days ago as head of the Murdoch’s British newspaper group. James Murdoch said he had “no knowledge, and there’s no evidence that I’m aware of,” that Ms. Brooks or other senior executives who have resigned from Murdoch companies as a result of the crisis had knowledge of phone hacking.

Asked about the departure of Ms. Brooks and of Les Hinton, once Rupert Murdoch’s most senior lieutenant, the senior Mr. Murdoch said both executives asked to leave and were not pushed out. He said he had not accepted earlier efforts by Ms. Brooks to resign because “I believed her, I trusted her and I trust her.”

“In the end she just insisted,” he continued. “She was at the point of extreme anguish.”

The hacking scandal was a “matter of great regret of mine, my father’s and everyone at News Corporation,” James Murdoch told the committee. “These actions do not live up to the standards that our company aspires to everywhere around the world.”

Lawmakers questioned Mr. Murdoch senior about news reports suggesting that The News of the World might have sought the phone numbers of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. He said he had “seen no evidence of these allegations.”

Slapping the table to underscore his points as he spoke to the committee, Rupert Murdoch said The News of the World, the tabloid at the center of the scandal, represented about 1 percent of his company’s global business. “I employ 53,000 people around the world who are proud, ethical, distinguished people,” Mr. Murdoch said.

The 80-year-old father and the 38-year-old son, both American citizens, sat side by side facing their questioners, each in a dark suit, white shirt and tie.

Rupert Murdoch said he ordered The News of the World shut down two weeks ago because “we felt ashamed of what happened and felt that we would bring it to a close — we had broken our trust with our readers.” He denied a suggestion that the decision was made for commercial reasons.

The appearance of the Murdochs overlapped with a separate committee hearing, begun earlier in the day, into the involvement of the police in the scandal.

The issue, smoldering for months, exploded fully about two weeks ago with reports that The News of the World, under the editorship of Ms. Brooks, ordered the hacking of voicemail of a 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, who had been abducted and was later found murdered. Ms. Brooks has denied knowledge of the hacking.

“I was absolutely shocked, appalled, ashamed when I heard about the Milly Dowler case two weeks ago,” Rupert Murdoch told the committee on Tuesday.

In a written statementwhich he read to the committee after three hours of hearings, he added: “I would like all the victims of phone hacking to know how completely and deeply sorry I am. Apologizing cannot take back what has happened. Still, I want them to know the depth of my regret for the horrible invasions into their lives.”

“I have lived in many countries, employed thousands of honest and hard-working journalists, owned nearly 200 newspapers and followed countless stories about people and families around the world,” he said. “At no time do I remember being as sickened as when I heard what the Dowler family had to endure — nor do I recall being as angry as when I was told The News of the World could have compounded their distress.”

At some points where Mr. Murdoch senior was pressed on detailed points and seemed not to have a ready response, his son James sought to intervene, but committee members insisted on answers from his father. At other times, James Murdoch seemed to be shielding his father, sometimes combatively, sometimes disclaiming knowledge, sometimes declining to answer on the ground that many issues were part of separate criminal inquiries by the police.

For his part, Rupert Murdoch, who has a reputation for blunt, tough talk, often answered lawmakers’ questions with a long pause and a curt monosyllable. Asked directly whether he was ultimately responsible for what he has called the “fiasco” at his company, he said simply, “No.”

Who was responsible, then? “The people that I trusted and then, maybe, the people they trusted,” he replied.

Sitting behind the father and son were Ms. Deng, Rupert Murdoch’s wife, and Joel I. Klein, a senior executive of News Corporation, the Murdochs’ global media company, who has been put in charge of an internal investigation of the scandal.

British lawmakers focused some of their questioning on out-of-court settlements paid by News International, the British newspaper subsidiary of News Corporation. Some of them ran to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but James Murdoch said such amounts were “below the approval thresholds that would have to go to my father as chairman and chief executive of the global companies.”

The day of hearings began with testimony from Sir Paul Stephenson, who resigned on Sunday as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, commonly known as the Met or Scotland Yard. In full uniform, Sir Paul quoted from Shakespeare to explain that once he had decided to tender his resignation, “It were best it were done quickly.”

The decision to quit was “my decision and my decision only,” he said at the beginning of 90 minutes of testimony.

He was followed by John Yates, the former assistant commissioner who resigned on Monday, and by Dick Fedorcio, the communications director for the police force. Much of the questioning at that hearing focused on allegations of coziness between the police and the newspapers and on the hiring of former News of the World executives and journalists by the police either as employees or as consultants. At the same time, Mr. Cameron cut short an African trade tour to return home for a showdown at an emergency session of the full Parliament on Wednesday with the opposition Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

Both hearings on Tuesday were held in bland committee rooms across from the House of Commons, close to the River Thames in the Westminster area of central London.

The Murdochs appeared before the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee in the Wilson Room of Portcullis House. Lines of people waiting to attend the Murdoch hearings began forming eight hours before their scheduled start. The home affairs select committee hearing testimony about the police met in the Grimond Room of the same building.

Given the time pressure of the interviews with Rupert and James Murdoch and Ms. Brooks, the 10 House of Commons lawmakers on the media committee, drawn from the three main political parties in Parliament, agreed in advance on lines of questioning for the hearing. According to a senior member of the committee, the focus would be on the culture of the newsrooms at Murdoch newspapers; when phone hacking first started; who was involved; who sought to cover up the scandal; and why James Murdoch authorized settlement payments earlier in the scandal to well-known people whose voice mail was known to have been hacked.

Because of the intense interest by the public and the small seating capacity of the hearing rooms, both hearings were broadcast live.

In British parliamentary hearings, witnesses do not testify under oath. Instead, they are obliged to answer “on their honor.” The committees do not have the power to punish those it questions, but any misbehavior unearthed would deepen the opprobrium associated with those linked to the scandal.

In political terms, the weight of the hearings lies in the opportunity they offer Parliament to assert an authority weakened in recent years by a scandal over lawmakers’ expense accounts. That could nudge the balance of power toward legislators. The witnesses can choose not to answer — in American terms, plead the Fifth — if they judge their comments could be self-incriminating.

“The trick for this committee is getting comments on the record,” said Brian Cathcart, a former journalist who worked as an adviser to the committee in the past. “They don’t expect to convict and lock up their man but to get people to say things that they will have to stand by.”

The questioning of Ms. Brooks is likely to be limited by the fact that she is a subject of the police investigation into the hacking. But she is certain to face questions about a comment she made to the committee in 2003 that her newspaper had paid the police for information — a comment she later retracted. Ms. Brooks was asked to appear before the committee at its 2009 hearing but refused to do so in person and instead sent written testimony.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The trembling at News Corp has only begun

July 19, 2011: 10:26 AM ET

http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/07/19/the-trembling-at-news-corp-has-only-begun/?hpt=hp_t1

The scandal's potential damage to News Corp. has already gone beyond News of the World. But will the company's directors remember their duty to represent the interests of shareholders not named Murdoch?

By Geoff Colvin, senior editor at large

FORTUNE -- Some people aren't at all surprised by the unending scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. They are the investors, insurers, lawyers, and others who had read the "Governance Analysis" report on the company from The Corporate Library, a research firm. The firm grades companies' governance from A to F, and for the past six years News Corp. has received an F -- "only because there is no lower grade," says Nell Minow, who co-founded The Corporate Library in 1999 on the premise that governance "can be rated like bonds, from triple-A to junk." News Corp.'s overall risk, says the prophetic report: "very high." Risk of class-action securities litigation: "very high." Scandal-related lawsuits are already piling up.

For those who think corporate governance is the concern of prissy do-gooders who don't understand real-world business, News Corp. (NWS) is the latest example that the truth is just the opposite: Governance is the foundation of real-world business. If it isn't solid, trouble is inevitable. For News Corp., it's the reason the trouble is far from over.

News Corp.'s variety of lousy governance is simple -- one man exerts control wildly out of proportion to his stake in the business. As at many companies with bad governance, the mechanism is dual-class stock. News Corp.'s class A shares account for about 70% of the company's market cap (recently $41 billion total) but have no voting power. Only class B shares, which account for the other 30% of the market cap, get to vote, and Rupert Murdoch has almost 40% of the class B shares. Economically he owns just 12% of the company, but he wields total control because he can elect all the directors. While the other class B shareholders (about 1,300 of them) could in theory gang up on him and vote against his wishes, in practice that doesn't happen. It's especially unlikely since long-time Murdoch supporter Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia owns 7% of the class B shares.

Ultimate responsibility for protecting News Corp.'s 48,000 total shareholders thus rests with a board comprising three directors named Murdoch (Rupert plus sons James and Lachlan; daughter Elisabeth is scheduled to join next year), four additional News Corp. employees (COO Chase Carey, CFO David DeVoe, executive VP Joel Klein, and senior adviser Arthur Siskind), two former News Corp. employees, and seven other directors, including a 31-year-old opera singer, Natalie Bancroft, from the family that owned Dow Jones, which News Corp. bought in 2007. News Corp. says her "youth" and "female perspective" bring value to the board. Under such guardianship, it's unsurprising the stock has disappointed investors; it has underperformed the S&P 500 over the past five and 10 years.

This board meets the independence requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Nasdaq, where the stock trades, but if it doesn't seem very independent to you, that's understandable. In any case, it doesn't matter. While legally the board can fire Rupert Murdoch, practically he can fire the board, and the board knows it. Truly the company has earned its F in governance.

The effects are insidious and more far reaching than you might imagine. "It creates a culture with no accountability," says Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware's John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance. In companies where directors are genuinely subject to the shareholders' will, CEOs get fired; BP's (BP) board fired Tony Hayward last year, for example, and Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) board fired Mark Hurd. The message cascades down through the organization: Bad behavior gets you fired here. But at companies where the CEO can fire the board, a different message cascades down: We don't answer to the shareholders, we answer to just one person. It's the rule of man, not the rule of law.

To see the results, consider the most infamous scandal companies of the past several years – Enron, Worldcom, Healthsouth, Adelphia, Parmalat. Like News Corp., each had risen from nothing to huge success under one man, and through various means he had maintained total effective control. Employees felt they were beholden to a person who was beyond outside governance. The results were devastating to shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and communities.

Based only on what has been confirmed, the scandal's potential damage to News Corp. is already considerable, beyond the closure of the highly profitable News of the World. Confiscated notebooks name thousands of people whose phones may have been hacked -- a staggering docket of lawsuits if hacking is confirmed. Payments to police officers, which, News Corp. has admitted, seems a clear violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as several senators have observed. If News Corp. is guilty, the FCC licenses of its 27 U.S. television stations could be in peril. That's not a theoretical danger; RKO General had to give up all its broadcast licenses some 20 years ago after it was found to have bribed foreign officials and committed other unsavory acts.

See also: Murdoch's Sun newspaper hit by hackers

A large question for News Corp. now is how much further the scandal will extend. Company officials first maintained it ended with one rogue reporter at The News of the World. Then they acknowledged it was several but involved only phone hacking and only at that paper. Then the scandal spread to the Sun and to police bribery. With 10 employees or former employees arrested so far, it would seem foolish to assume now that all other employees have been behaving like Boy Scouts.

With that in mind, recent events cast a new light on the company's News America Marketing Group, which produces free-standing ad inserts for newspapers and magazines and for years has been sued by competitors alleging grossly unfair practices. One of the suits went to trial in 2009; after two days of proceedings, News Corp. settled out of court for the stunning sum of $500 million. Another suit went to trial earlier this year, and after one day, News Corp. settled for $125 million.

Now, investigators in at least three countries -- the U.K., the U.S., and Australia -- are combing carefully and widely through the company's affairs. What they might find seems to worry investors, who have clipped News Corp.'s market value by $6.6 billion since the scandal broke in early July, reflecting far more than the immediate economic damage. For example, if the FBI finds that News Corp. employees hacked the phones of 9/11 victims or their families, the American public's fury will know no bounds. That could be bad news for Murdoch's treasured Wall Street Journal plus his U.S. movie studios (Twentieth Century Fox and others), U.S. cable networks (Fox News, FX, and others), and U.S. TV stations and broadcast network (Fox), which together earn most of News Corp.'s profit.

See also: Poof! News Corp. loses $8 billion market cap

What's next? Suddenly under intense scrutiny and in the crosshairs of lawsuits, the directors may remember they have a legal duty to represent the interests of all shareholders (See also: What's next for Murdoch?). They could finally defy Murdoch, firing him or kicking him upstairs to non-executive chairman or otherwise rehabbing the company's tattered governance. With the world watching, Murdoch may feel that the one time he needs to exercise his power to fire the directors, he can't. Or, since the class B voting shares are publicly (though thinly) traded, someone could mount an old-fashioned proxy fight to reform the board.

Murdoch has long argued that News Corp.'s governance is public information, and investors who don't like it needn't buy the stock. That's obviously true and perhaps explains why sophisticated institutional investors don't buy shares of companies with dual-class stock nearly as heavily as they invest in the overall market, according to research. News Corp.'s shareholders, says Charles Elson, "have no one to blame but themselves for buying this stock."

The scandal is further evidence that governance disasters are like earthquakes: You can never predict when they'll happen, but you can predict pretty confidently where they'll happen. The trembling under News Corp. has only begun

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rupert Murdoch's phone-hacking humble pie

Tycoon expresses regret for News Corporation's involvement in scandal but insists he was kept in dark

By Patrick Wintour, political editor

guardian.co.uk,

Tuesday 19 July 2011 23.54 BST

Rupert Murdoch defiantly insisted on Tuesday he was not responsible for what he called "sickening and horrible invasions" of privacy committed by his company, claiming he had been betrayed by disgraceful unidentified colleagues, and had known nothing of the cover-up of phone hacking.

During a three-hour grilling at the culture select committee, disrupted by a protester throwing a plate of shaving foam, the once all-powerful News Corp chairman and chief executive told MPs: "I am not responsible."

In a halting performance, at times pausing, mumbling and mishearing, Murdoch said those culpable were "the people I hired and trusted, and perhaps then people who they hired and trusted". But he denied the accusation he had been "willfully blind" about the scandal.

Flanked by his son James, the chairman of News International, Murdoch said he and his company had been betrayed in a disgraceful way, but argued he was still the best person to clean up the company, adding in a rehearsed soundbite that his day in front of the committee represented "the most humble day of my life ".

In a Westminster hearing screened worldwide, he repeatedly tried to avoid identifying the specific culprits in his company, often blaming earlier legal counsel for inadequate advice or leaving his son to explain his behaviour.

But in separate testimony to the home affairs select committee, Lord Macdonald, the former head of the DPP, now on contract with News International, revealed it had taken him three to five minutes to examine documents kept by the company's solicitors showing widespread criminality at the company.

Macdonald said in his view the criminality revealed was "completely unequivocal", adding when he reported his findings to the News International board recently there was surprise and shock. He said: "I cannot imagine anyone looking at the file would not say there was criminality," including payments to police.

The file was kept at the solicitors Harbottle & Lewis, and the police investigation is now centring on which executives tried to conceal its contents. In May 2007 Harbottle & Lewis sent a two-paragraph letter to News International executives claiming their examination of the documents showed there was no evidence any senior executives knew of illegal activities by the reporter Clive Goodman, or of any other illegal activities.

The physical assault on Murdoch came near the end of the evidence session, prompting gasps as his wife Wendi Deng leaped up to hit the assailant, Jonathan May-Bowles, a participant in UK Uncut events.

May-Bowles was detained by police as James Murdoch angrily asked officers why they had not protected his father. The Commons Speaker John Bercow called for an inquiry.

The culture and home affairs select committee between them took more than eight hours of evidence about the phone-hacking scandal. Under the cover of the drama of the hearings, the Conservatives revealed that Neil Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor, had given "informal unpaid advice" to Andy Coulson when he was director of communications at the Conservative party.

In a statement the party said: "It has been drawn to our attention that he may have provided Andy Coulson with some informal advice on a voluntary basis before the election. We are currently finding out the exact nature of any advice."

Wallis was arrested last week on suspicion of phone hacking, and the furore surrounding his hiring by the Metropolitan police between October 2008 and September 2009 has led to the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan police commissioner, and the Met's assistant commissioner John Yates, who both gave evidence on Tuesday.

Separately emails were released by Downing Street showing David Cameron's chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, had on 20 September 2010 turned down the opportunity of a briefing by the Metropolitan police on the phone hacking. Labour claimed it showed an extraordinary dereliction of his duty to find out the scale of the wrong-doing, and the potential involvement of Coulson, the former No 10 director of communications.

Cameron will be pressed on the issue when he makes a statement to MPs on how he is handling the crisis. He has been summoned to a 1922 backbench committee meeting to justify his response, including his decision to hire Coulson.

The bulk of the cross-examination of the Murdochs was largely designed to locate how high the apparent cover-up of systematic law breaking went. James Murdoch was forced to admit, after much wriggling, that his company was still paying the legal costs of Glenn Mulcaire, one of the private detectives on the payroll of News of the World found guilty of hacking phones. James Murdoch said he was shocked and surprised to learn the payments were continuing, and denied it had been done to buy silence.

Pressed by the Labour MP Paul Farrelly, Rupert Murdoch said he would stop the payments if he was contractually free to do so. James Murdoch denied the large out-of-court settlements to the PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, (£700,000) and publicist Max Clifford (£1m including legal costs), authorised by him in 2008, had not been pitched so high to buy their silence. He insisted the settlement level was based on legal advice, or in the case of Clifford due to the ending of a wider contract.

James Murdoch also revealed he had authorised the settlements but had not told his father until 2009 after the case became public, saying the payments were too small to be reported to a higher board. He refused a request from MP Tom Watson to release Taylor from his confidentiality agreement.

Both James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International who gave evidence later to the committee, said they had acted as soon as evidence emerged in civil cases at the end of 2010 that phone hacking had not been confined to Mulcaire and Goodman.

James Murdoch apologised for the scandal and told MPs: "These actions do not live up to the standards our company aspires to." The trio came under pressure over a letter in May 2007 prepared by Harbottle & Lewis on the instruction of Jon Chapman, the former director of legal affairs, and Daniel Cloak, the head of human resources, suggesting phone hacking had not been widespread.

The files on which the Harbottle & Lewis letter is based were re-examined in April by senior News International executives including Will Lewis and Lord Macdonald.

In tense opening exchanges Murdoch revealed he had mounted no investigation when Brooks told parliament seven years ago that the News of the World had paid police officers for information.

He said: "I didn't know of it." He also admitted he had never heard of the fact that his senior reporter at the News of the World, Neville Thurlbeck, had been found by a judge to be guilty of blackmail.

Watson interrupted to prevent Rupert Murdoch's son answering the questions saying "Your father is responsible for corporate governance, and serious wrongdoing has been brought about in the company. It is revealing in itself what he does not know and what executives chose not to tell him."

Rupert Murdoch denied he was ignorant of his company, banging the table and saying News of the World "is less than 1 %" of News Corp. .

He was asked about his connections to the Conservative party and revealed it had been on the advice of the prime minister's staff that he had gone through the back door to have a cup of tea with David Cameron after the election to receive Cameron's personal thanks for supporting his party in the election.

"I was asked if I would please come through the back door," Murdoch told the committee.

Rupert Murdoch denied that the closure of the News of the World was motivated by financial considerations, saying he shut it because of the criminal allegations. In one flash of anger he complained his competitors had "caught us with dirty hands and created hysteria".

Aware that he must prevent the scandal spreading across the Atlantic, he insisted he had seen no evidence that victims of the 9/11 terror attack and their relatives were targeted by any of his papers

Link to post
Share on other sites

News Corp board shocked at evidence of payments to police, says former DPP

Lord Macdonald tells committee it took him 'three to five minutes' to decide NoW emails had to be passed to police

By Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

guardian.co.uk,

Tuesday 19 July 2011 21.26 BST

"Blindingly obvious" evidence of corrupt payments to police officers was found by the former director of public prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, when he inspected News of the World emails, the home affairs select committee was told.

Explaining how he had been called in by solicitors acting for Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation board, Lord Macdonald said that when he inspected the messages it took him between "three to five minutes" to decide that the material had to be passed to police.

"The material I saw was so blindingly obvious that trying to argue that it should not be given to the police would have been a hard task. It was evidence of serious criminal offences."

He first showed it to the News Corp board in June this year. "There was no dissent," he recalled. "They were stunned. They were shocked. I said it was my unequivocal advice that it should be handed to the police. They accepted that."

That board meeting, the former DPP said, was chaired by Rupert Murdoch.

Lord Macdonald shortly afterwards gave the material to Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick at the Metropolitan police. The nine or 10 emails passed over led to the launch of Operation Elveden, the police investigation into corrupt payments to officers for information.

Lord Macdonald, who had been in charge of the Crown Prosecution Service when the phone-hacking prosecution of the NoW's royal correspondent took place, said he had only been alerted to the case due to the convention that the DPP is always notified of crimes involving the royal family.

Members of the committee were highly critical of the CPS's narrow definition of what constituted phone hacking, claiming that it was at odds with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

Mark Reckless, the Conservative MP for Rochester, said that the original police investigation was hindered by the advice from the CPS that phone hacking was only an offence if messages had been intercepted before they were listened to by the intended recipient. However, Reckless said, a clause in the RIPA makes it an offence to hack in to messages even if they have already been heard.

Keir Starmer, the current DPP, said that the police had been told that "the RIPA legislation was untested". Listening to messages before they had been heard by the intended recipient was illegal, the police were told, but the question of whether intercepting them afterwards constituted a crime was "untested", he said.

Mark Lewis, the solicitor who has followed the scandal since its start, said he was the first person to lose his job over the affair when the firm in which he was a partner said it no longer wished him to pursue other victims' claims.

Lewis also told MPs that he had been threatened by lawyers acting for John Yates, the former assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan police, because of comments he had made about phone hacking.

"I have copies of a letter from Carter Ruck [solicitors] threatening to sue me on behalf of John Yates," Lewis told the home affairs select committee. He said the Guardian and the Labour MP Chris Bryant had also received threats of being sued. "The costs of the action were paid for by the Metropolitan Police, by the taxpayer," he added.

Lewis said the reason for the investigation taking so long was not due solely to the police. "The DPP seems to have got it wrong and needs to be helped out," he said.

Link to post
Share on other sites

John Yates calls for more resignations at News International

Scotland Yard officer tells MPs that others at the company should 'face their responsibility' over phone-hacking cover-up

By Vikram Dodd, crime correspondent

guardian.co.uk,

Tuesday 19 July 2011 21.03 BST

One of Scotland Yard's most senior officers said more people at News International should consider resigning over the company's alleged cover-up of phone hacking.

Assistant commissioner John Yates said the example set by himself and Scotland Yard commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, in resigning over the scandal, should be followed at News International.

The remark was interpreted as a reference to James Murdoch, given that former chief executive Rebekah Brooks quit on Friday.

Yates, who announced on Monday he would resign, told MPs Tuesday he had paid "a heavy price". Testifying before the home affairs committee which is investigating the controversy, he said: "In light of what I now know, the fact seems to be that News International have deliberately covered up."

Then, closing his evidence, he said not just the police had failed, but that NI had too in failing to hand over evidence to detectives showing that phone hacking was more widespread than just one rogue reporter.

Yates, having told MPs he was accountable, said: "I do think it is time for others to face their responsibilty and do likewise."

Asked by committee chair, Keith Vaz, who he meant, Yates said: "News International." Asked if he believed people there should follow his and Stephenson's example, Yates replied: "I absolutely do." The hearing heard from Yates, the Met's top spin doctor, Dick Fedorcio, making a rare public appearance, and Stephenson.

The revelation that the Met had hired the former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis as a temporary but senior PR consultant, which came hours after his arrest over alleged phone hacking last week, led to the resignations of Stephenson and Yates.

Stephenson confirmed a Guardian report that the Met had approached Wallis to perform the role and that he had been consulted: "Neil Wallis was known to me. When his name came up I had no concernsI was not discomforted that Mr Wallis came out of that process."

Lunch and dinner

Wallis, while a NoW executive, and Stephenson had lunch and dinner at least seven times, part of 18 declared contacts the commissioner had with the former Sunday tabloid over a five-year period.

Fedorcio, the Met's director of public affairs, never asked Wallis about phone hacking before he gained a contract to advise the force on PR.

Fedorcio, who was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over his dealings with Wallis shortly before giving evidence to the committee, said it was left to Yates to check if Wallis had any involvement with phone hacking: "He said to me that as far as he was concerned, having spoken to Mr Wallis, there was nothing that could embarrass us in this appointment," he said.

Fedorcio, whose surname MPs kept mispronouncing, told the committee he did this despite knowing that Yates was a friend of Wallis. He told the MPs: "I had no reason to doubt Mr Yates's integrity."

Giving evidence directly afterwards, Yates said he had "sought assurances" in a single phone call to Wallis that nothing would come to light implicating him in the hacking scandal. "What I did was not due diligence in the truest sense," he said.

Yates added that he was not a close friend of Wallis but merely saw him "two or three times a year", mainly to go to sporting events.

Wallis was deputy editor of the News of the World under Andy Coulson when the paper was alleged to have been engaged in large-scale phone hacking, before leaving to set up his own PR consultancy, Chamy Media. Shortly afterwards, in October 2009, he won a two-day-a-month contract to assist the Met, worth £24,000 a year.

Fedorcio said he needed assistance with corporate PR as his deputy was on long-term sick leave. Following advice from the force's procurement department he requested three tenders for the contract, with Chamy submitting "by far" the lowest bid.

Even though the Met had recently reinvestigated alleged phone hacking, Fedorcio said, he had no worries about giving Wallis the contract given that Yates carried out due diligence.

Facing questioning from the MPs, Fedorcio said Yates appeared well placed to carry out this role as "he had been leading the work on phone hacking". He told the committee that he had only "in the past few years" learned of the pair's friendship. He added: "I knew he (Yates) had contact with Mr Wallis but I did not know he was a close friend of Mr Wallis."

Fedorcio said he had met Wallis previously "on a number of occasions" but they were not friends. He added that he could not recall who suggested the ex-journalist as someone from whom to request a tender bid, but that he "did not believe" it was someone from News International.

The contract with Wallis ended in September 2010 following the publication of a New York Times article making new allegations about phone hacking.

Stephenson said: "Just let me say, with the benefit of what we know now, I'm quite happy to put on the record I regret that we went into that contract, quite clearly, because it's embarrassing."

Yates denied anything improper in his relationship with Wallis and denied a claim he had helped his daughter get a job with the force. Yates said he had acted merely as a "postbox" in handing a CV to the force's director of human resources from Wallis's daughter.

Downing Street

Key Scotland Yard figures believed Stephenson's resignation speech contained a swipe at David Cameron, and numerous news organisations reported it as an attack on the PM, who had hired Coulson as his director of communications, despite him leaving the paper over the phone-hacking scandal. But Stephenson told MPs: "I was taking no such swipe at the prime minister … I do agree with the prime minister when he says this was something entirely different."

Yates said there was "some comfort" in Cameron hiring a former NoW executive, meaning the Yard thought there was nothing wrong in them doing likewise.

It emerged that in September 2010 after allegations appeared in the New York Times about the extent of phone hacking at the NoW, the Met offered the PM a briefing.

Cameron chief of staff Ed Llewellyn rejected this.

Yates said: "There was an offer in the early part of September 2010 for me to put into context some of the nuances around police language in terms of what a scoping exercise is, what an assessment is..." he said.

"That offer was properly and understandably rejected."

The commissioner said that 17% of his press contact has been with the News of the World, which had 16% of the newspaper Sunday market.

He rejected claims of the force being in thrall to the Murdoch empire by saying 30% of his press contacts were with News International papers while it had 42% of newspaper readership.

The hearing heard that 10 out of the Met's 45-strong press office had worked for News International in some capacity, including work experience.

Guardian and the Met

In December 2009 Stephenson met Guardian executives to try to persuade them the paper's coverage was exaggerated and incorrect.

On Tuesday he admitted he had not read the evidence about the case, seemingly relying only on the Yates July 2009 review and said: "Mr Yates gave me assurances there was nothing new to the Guardian article. I think I have a right to rely on those assurances."

He went to the Guardian because the paper continued to run the campaign – something for which he has now acknowledged "we should be grateful".

He said after that meeting failed to persuade the paper, he suggested senior Guardian executives should meet directly with Yates, a meeting that took place. Yates said his July 2009 "examination of the facts" around hacking took hours to complete but was "reasonably sophisticated. This was an article in a newspaper, it wasn't a body being found … It's just 'is there anything new in the Guardian article on 9 July [2009]'? Answer: there wasn't."

Health spa

Stephenson claimed the London mayor, Boris Johnson, had been "emotional" when he told him of his intention to resign on Sunday and the home secretary, Theresa May, had been "very cross". He said: "No one forced me to go."

The commissioner said many tried to talk him out of his decision. "It was against the advice of many, many colleagues – and, indeed, my wife."

But he said the weekend revelations about his acceptance of hospitality running into £12,000 at a luxury health spa made it clear to him that the controversy would not go away and would continue to be a distraction.

He said: "I think it was very unfortunate for me. I had no knowledge previously. I think that, together with everything else, I thought this is going to be a significant story, and if I am going to be a leader and do the right thing by my organisation, I'd better do something quickly."

Stephenson, wearing uniform, in what he said was probably his last public engagement in office, said: "I'm going because I'm a leader. Leadership is not about popularity, it's not about the press, it's not about spinning."

Yates said that the furore meant in the last fortnight meant he had been able to concentrate on his role as the most senior counter terrorism officer, for just two or three hours a week.

The outgoing commissioner said the force needed to change its media relations: "It is quite clear we need to change the way we do it."

The Met needed to be more "transparent" and Sir Paul had asked the former commissioner for parliamentary standards, Elizabeth Filkins, to advise the force on the "ethical underpinnings" for relations with the media.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hacking crisis edges closer to Cameron

Fresh links to former NOTW executive pile pressure on PM

The Independent

By Andrew Grice, Oliver Wright, Ian Burrell, Martin Hickman and Cahal Milmo

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

David Cameron will be forced to explain damaging new revelations today that have dragged him deeper into the phone-hacking scandal.

It emerged last night that Neil Wallis, the former News of the World deputy editor who was arrested last week, worked for the Conservative Party before last year's election. He gave "informal" advice to Andy Coulson, his former boss at the NOTW, who resigned from the paper over the hacking affair but was later appointed Mr Cameron's director of communications.

In a second blow to the Prime Minister, it was revealed that his chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, had appealed to Scotland Yard not to mention hacking during a Downing Street briefing last September, four months before Mr Coulson quit his No 10 post. Labour said the disclosure showed Mr Cameron could not do his job properly because of the cloud cast by the hacking controversy.

Related articles

•Ed Llewellyn: The old school chum in trouble for not communicating

•Leading article: Questions that need to be answered

•Brooks claims she was repeatedly told phone allegations were untrue

•Flashes of passion from the mogul on his 'most humble day'

We may still be paying Milly hacker's bills, admits Murdoch

•From ruthless boss of his media empire to frail octogenarian

•Leading article: This was a day of evasion, not humility

•Christina Patterson: On one thing, Murdoch is right

•Toxicology tests after death of whistleblower will take weeks

•Martin Hickman: Was Sean Hoare killed by the Murdoch empire? The short answer is no

•Matthew Norman: Boris Johnson embodies the amorality of the passing age

•Mark Steel: My guess is the cleaners are to blame

•The Sketch: The mega-rich boys club too often given enough slack by their accusers

•Police investigate who dumped laptop in the bin

•Vulnerable heir defends gagging deals

•Murdoch's No 10 visits made through the back door

•News Corp directors rally support behind Murdoch family

•NI tries to curb advertising exodus at remaining papers

•Market relief at lack of 'bombshell'

•Hacking group targeted in US arrests

•David Prosser: Investors look forward to change at the top of News Corp

Search the news archive for more stories

Mr Cameron returned last night from a trip to Africa he was forced to cut short by a growing crisis which some Tory MPs fear is in danger of destabilising his premiership.

Loyalists believe the Prime Minister looks increasingly isolated and are concerned that cabinet members, including the Chancellor George Osborne and the Tory chairman Baroness Warsi, have failed to rally behind him while he has been away. But one backbench leader said: "The feeling is that this is a crisis of his own making – he employed Andy Coulson."

The Prime Minister's plan to go on the offensive today during a Commons statement on the affair suffered a setback with the disclosure that his party had links to two people arrested during the current police investigation – Mr Coulson and Mr Wallis.

A Tory spokesman said: "We have double-checked our records and are able to confirm that neither Neil Wallis nor his company has ever been contracted by the Conservative Party, nor has the Conservative Party made payments to either of them. It has been drawn to our attention that he may have provided Andy Coulson with some informal advice on a voluntary basis before the election. We are currently finding out the exact nature of any advice."

The Tories insisted that neither Mr Cameron nor any senior member of the party's campaign team were aware of Mr Wallis's involvement until this week. It is believed the advice was given on a one-off project during 2009. Ed Miliband will quiz Mr Cameron over the precise nature of Mr Wallis's role and over his chief of staff's apparent attempt to insulate the Prime Minister from the hacking scandal.

Mr Llewellyn has already been accused of not passing on to Mr Cameron warnings from senior Liberal Democrats and newspaper executives about appointing Mr Coulson after last year's election. Yesterday it emerged that Mr Llewellyn sent an email to John Yates, the former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, last September, saying he "would be grateful" if hacking were not raised by him during an imminent briefing on national security. "I am sure you will understand that we will want to be able to be entirely clear, for your sake and ours, that we have not been in contact with you about this subject," Mr Llewellyn wrote.

The briefing was held shortly after allegations in The New York Times that Mr Coulson knew about hacking while he was NOTW editor and "actively encouraged" it, claims he strongly denies.

Downing Street defended Mr Llewellyn, saying he cleared his request with Jeremy Heywood, the permanent secretary at No 10. Cameron aides said the plea was nothing to do with Mr Coulson but reflected a desire that politicians should not be involved in operational police matters.

However, Mr Llewellyn's request appears to have been in the mind of Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met Commissioner, when he decided last week not to tell Mr Cameron or the Home Secretary Theresa May that Mr Wallis had been employed as a PR adviser to Scotland Yard.

Mr Yates confirmed to the Home Affairs Select Committee that Mr Llewellyn made the request. "Ed for whatever reason – and I completely understand it – didn't think it was appropriate for him, the Prime Minister or anyone else in No 10 to discuss this issue... and [said he] would be grateful if it wasn't raised."

Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, dismissed a complaint by the Labour MP John Mann that Mr Cameron had breached the ministerial code by meeting James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks last Christmas while the Government was considering News Corporation's bid for full control of BSkyB.

Sir Gus O'Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, said after studyng the exchange of emails that Mr Llewellyn "acted entirely properly."

Was he compromised? Cameron and the Murdoch empire

2007

July Andy Coulson is appointed director of communications to Opposition leader David Cameron, some seven months after his resignation as editor of the News of the World. The appointment is reportedly made following recommendations from Rebekah Brooks, editor of The Sun, and George Osborne.

2010

24 February Commons Media Committee accuses News International executives of "collective amnesia" concerning voicemail hacking and concludes it is "inconceivable" that managers at the paper did not know about the practice.

April (date not specified) Cameron meets Rupert Murdoch, and according to Downing Street, they hold a "general discussion". Neil Wallis, former deputy editor of the NOTW, provides "informal advice" to his old boss, Andy Coulson, prior to the general election. The Conservative Party last night confirmed the arrangement but said it had never employed or paid Mr Wallis.

12 May David Cameron becomes Prime Minister.

May In his first three weeks as PM, Cameron holds five meetings with News International – Rebekah Brooks at Chequers; Dominic Mohan, editor of The Sun, for a general discussion; the News International summer party; James Harding, editor of The Times, for an interview; Times CEO Summit for a speech.

14-16 June First disclosure of the Murdochs' plans to take full control of BSkyB. The broadcaster's board asks for at least 800p per share.

June The Prime Minister attends The Sun Police Bravery Awards reception and dinner awards ceremony and meets Dominic Mohan for a general discussion and Colin Myler, editor of the NOTW, for general discussion.

July Rebekah Brooks visits Cameron at Chequers.

August Cameron meets John Witherow, editor of The Sunday Times, for a general discussion.

1 September The New York Times publishes an article alleging widespread knowledge of phone hacking at the NOTW, including interview with former reporter Sean Hoare alleging that Andy Coulson knew of the practice.

September Ed Llewellyn, Cameron's chief of staff, turns down the offer of a briefing from Met police Assistant Commissioner John Yates about a review of the phone-hacking investigation. Llewellyn, whose boss appears to be at risk of being compromised by his employment of Coulson, says he would be "grateful" if the matter was not raised.

September Cameron meets James Harding, Dominic Mohan, Rebekah Brooks, above, and John Witherow separately at the Conservative conference; he also attends the NI reception at the event.

11 October An alliance of media companies opposed to the News Corp/Sky deal – including BT, Channel 4 and the publishers of The Guardian, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph – writes to Business Secretary Vince Cable saying the deal could have "serious and far-reaching consequences for media plurality".

9 October Rebekah Brooks attends PM's 44th birthday party at Chequers.

October James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn visit PM's country retreat.

November Coulson is interviewed as a witness by Metropolitan Police detectives investigating the phone-hacking allegations. He is not cautioned or arrested.

3 November News Corporation notifies European Commission of its intention to acquire the shares in BSkyB that it does not already own.

4 November Vince Cable intervenes in proposed bid to gain full ownership of BSkyB, ordering media regulator Ofcom to review deal on the grounds of "media plurality".

18 November James Murdoch warns the Government that if it blocks bid, News Corp could focus future investments overseas, adding that Government must decide whether it wants to risk "jeopardising an £8bn investment in the UK" with a prolonged investigation.

November Cameron attends The Sun military awards reception and dinner awards ceremony; meets Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch for "social" purposes; meets Rebekah Brooks separate for "social purposes".

9-10 December Andy Coulson gives evidence to the perjury trial of disgraced MSP Tommy Sheridan. Coulson tells the jury he had no knowledge of phone hacking or private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

10 December A Scotland Yard inquiry has not found any new evidence of criminal activity. The Crown Prosecution Service says no further charges will be brought over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal because witnesses refused to co-operate with police.

15 December Documents lodged at the High Court by lawyers for Sienna Miller allege that NOTW executive Ian Edmondson had knowledge of phone hacking.

21-22 December Vince Cable is stripped of role deciding on takeover after The Telegraph reveals he has "declared war on Murdoch". Brussels clears the deal on competition grounds and responsibility for media competition issues is passed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Broadcaster's shares close up 14p – nearly 2 per cent – at 743p.

Thursday 23 December Cameron and his wife attend a dinner at Brooks' Oxfordshire home. Also in attendance are James and Kathryn Murdoch and Jeremy Clarkson and his wife Francie. Clarkson later revealed that within the following days the Camerons and the Brooks also had a picnic.

2011

5 January NOTW suspends and later sacks Edmondson after claims of phone hacking in 2005-06.

6 January Hunt meets with News Corp to set out the process he proposes to follow in assessing the takeover deal.

7 January Scotland Yard asks the NOTW for any new material it may have in relation to hacking.

21 January Andy Coulson resigns as Cameron's director of communications, saying he has become a distraction.

25 January Hunt says he considers the merger "may operate against the public interest in media plurality" but before referring it to the Competition Commission he says he will take more time to consider News Corp's proposal to protect the independence of Sky News.

26 January Scotland Yard launches Operation Weeting, a new investigation into phone hacking, under Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers. Police vow it will leave "no stone unturned".

15-16 February Hunt writes to News Corp saying that unless it amends the Sky News proposal to meet the concerns of the regulators, he will refer the merger to the Competition Commission. News Corp replies with a revised Sky News plan.

February Cameron attends NOTW's Children's Champions reception at Downing Street.

1-2 March News Corp to bypass media plurality concerns by spinning off Sky News into separately listed company. Hunt all but nods through takeover in the long term.

March Meets James Harding, of The Times, for a general discussion.

April Coulson invited to Chequers to thank him for his work for Cameron. This month the PM also meets Mohan for a general discussion; James Harding for a general discussion; and he attends the News International summer party and addresses The Times CEO summit.

5 April Edmondson and NOTW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck are arrested and bailed on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemails.

14 April James Weatherup, another senior NOTW journalist, is arrested and bailed by Weeting.

20 June NI submits recently rediscovered emails relating to the phone-hacking scandal and new allegations that NOTW executives authorised corrupt payments to police.

June PM Attends The Sun's police bravery awards.

1 July Government says it is ready to give clearance to deal. Jeremy Hunt gives opponents a week to raise objections.

6-12 July Ofcom intervention fuels fears deal will not go ahead. NOTW closed down. Ofcom says it has "a duty to be satisfied on an ongoing basis that the holder of a broadcasting licence is 'fit and proper'".

8 July Coulson and former NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman, who was jailed in January 2007 for intercepting voicemail messages of members of the royal household, are arrested and bailed as part of Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden – the Met's investigation into alleged illegal payments to police officers.

14 July News Corp withdraws bid.

14 July Neil Wallis, former NOTW deputy editor, arrested and bailed by Weeting.

17 July Brooks, by now former News International chief executive, arrested and bailed by Weeting and Elveden.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What the Murdochs DIDN'T say that spoke volumes:

Body language expert exposes chalk and cheese double act... while 'frail and submissive Rebekah Brooks is full of remorse'

Daily Mail

By Judi James

Last updated at 7:24 PM on 19th July 2011

Judi James is one of the UK’s leading body language and behaviour experts. Here she reveals the truth behind the gestures and facial expressions of the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks as they face tough questioning

JUDI SAYS:

It was a stunning double act. From the outset the mirrored body language of Rupert Murdoch and his son James showed they were presenting a united front.

The two sat side-by-side at the table, facing forwards with their hands in a uniform gesture, clasped loosely on the desk in front of them.

The handclasp is a restraining gesture – it prevents the speaker from over-gesticulating and stops them fiddling, which can be seen to be a suspicious, nervous act.

Crucially, with both hands on the table and out in the open, this is a gesture that conveys honesty and openness.

If there had been media coaching before the interview, it was here that it showed, and throughout the interview, the two returned to this ‘pole position’ many times.

Reflective: The Murdochs' mirrored pose - hands clasped in identical position on the table - clearly showed they were presenting a united front. Rupert's wife Wendi (centre) put on an animated performance and stole the show

Never did either party place their hands in their lap or out of sight.

When they started talking though, it was clear that James Murdoch and his father were chalk and cheese.

You have the very wordy James, who clearly wanted to do the talking. He is the PR face of the company.

He speaks in long paragraphs, adopting a wide, open-eyed expression that he scans around the room to suggest openness and honesty.

He wanted to make scripted apologies, continually trying to return to the topic. In his opening words he wanted to make a company statement, but was denied. Still, he was dominant and fought, even though he lost.

The seating position of the Murdochs was surprising. James was sitting on the right of his father, while usually that position would be taken by the dominant person – in Parliament, Cameron always has George Osborne on his left – so you would have expected Rupert Murdoch to sit there.

When I saw James in the hot seat, I guessed he would front the double-act – and he did.

Chalk and cheese: While James was the eloquent PR face of the operation, Rupert Murdoch was monosyllabic, giving closed answers and moving little, with the exception of a few incidents where he became emphatic

Where James was wordy, Rupert Murdoch was monosyllabic. Rupert was almost impossible to question. If the panel asked him a closed question, he would give them a closed answer.

He would not elaborate – I’m surprised the panel took so long to realise that. It was difficult to analyse his body language, simply because he hardly spoke, and hardly moved. He revealed very little.

You could barely see his eyes, he hardly moved his head, and his hands stayed mostly in the same loosely-clasped position as they were at the start, apart from a few incidents where Rupert Murdoch became passionate.

His main gesticulation while he spoke was the movement of his right hand towards his son - he wanted to hand the speaking back to James.

Like father, like son: The Murdochs presented a 'stunning double act', says Judi, with Rupert instigating comments and the more verbose James continuing for him

It appeared the Murdochs had expected James would be the one to answer all the questions, and Rupert was frequently keen to hand over.

Rupert didn’t take a back seat though – often, he would instigate an answer, then James would continue.

Rupert’s main objective throughout was to convey his apology. He claimed not to remember details and dates and gave very little in the way of historical comment, but seemed determined to put across his message.

He used very strong words at the start, interrupting his son to say that this was the most humble day of his life.

Judi says: Wendi has been a reasonable distraction throughout - leaning forward, looking anxiously towards her husband, wringing her hands and even at one point digging her nails into her knees.

When Marbles attacked, Rupert remained stock still and his son reeled back and shouted - but Wendi's reaction was most surprising.

Her spontaneous and aggressive defence, launching herself out of her chair to slap her husband's attacker clearly shows she is someone who likes to get stuck in.

Even when security guards intervened, Wendi was still on the attack, she was like a rottweiler.

This is Wendi's 'Pippa Middleton' moment - where she upstages the father and son double act. What's even more astonishing is that she managed to still look elegant as she attacked - a true Amazonian, powerful woman.

While for much of the first half of the inquest he was very static, when he did come to life, he became extremely emphatic.

He slapped the desk with his palm many times when saying his employees were distinguished and honest.

He jabbed his finger when he talked about meeting Milly Dowler’s family.

These were the parts of the message that he had an objective to put across, and he used those metronomic gestures to emphasise his points.

There was also an interesting emphatic headshake early on, when James was questioned about Rebekah Brooks possible impropriety.

Rupert Murdoch immediately shook his head. It was an instinctive gesture that he may not have been aware he was making, but it revealed that she still has his full support.

Was he worried, scared? I’d say the over-riding feeling seemed to be disappointment. Murdoch seemed unhappy.

There were no signs of distress – lip-licking, sweating, changing in breathing patterns. He was almost immobile.

The tone and tack was very much one of disappointment: he wants to get across that he is disappointed in people he trusted.

And now for Rebekah Brooks...

JUDI SAYS: Rebekah Brooks did something the Murdochs didn't manage - she looked genuinely sorry. Her appearance is low-key, she looks wan and tired.

Mrs Brooks is isolated - there are rows of empty seats behind her while the Murdochs had a full team.

Her chin is down, her eyebrows up and her voice is softer, quieter - she seems frail and submissive in front of the panel.

Subdued: Rebekah Brooks appeared frail and submissive while being questioned over the phone hacking scandal by the committee

However there are signs of the power she once wielded in the upper echelons of News International. During one point of disagreement, she pursed her lips showing the firmness with which she can make her point and how she would have acted in charge.

After the show from the Murdochs, this was a calm performance. There is no accelerated blink rate or raised shoulders - not revealing particular stress or suppressed anger.

She is quietly firm but there is no show-boating and the regret seems genuine.

Making her point: Mrs Brooks did purse her lips when there was a point of disagreement showing strength of character

The former chief executive is wordy in her responses but this is not evasive or slippery. There is no obvious dishonesty - she is not over or under-performing which is a sign someone is not telling the truth. She is also making direct eye contact as she answers the questions.

Mrs Brooks aim appears to be to fly under the radar and not turn the situation into an even greater drama.

Judi James is the author of The Body Language Bible (published by Vermillion) and The You Code – What Everything You Do Says About You, and appears regularly on Sky News and the BBC analysing politicians during the election

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2016527/PHONE-HACKING-SCANDAL-What-Rupert-James-Murdoch-DIDNT-say.html#ixzz1SbJvo7CK

Link to post
Share on other sites

The main strategy adopted by James and Rupert Murdoch was that they were shocked and ashamed about the hacking scandal and that they were doing all they could to help the truth to come out. This proved to be a complete lie when the information was dragged out of James Murdoch (apparently, Rupert knew nothing about what was going on) that News International were still paying the legal fees of Glen Mulcaire, the man who hacked into 5,000 phones, including those of murder victims such as Milly Downer. Why would they do that if they were truly horrified by Mulcaire's behaviour. The reason of course is that they are paying for Mulclaire's silence. In the same way that they paid nearly 2 million to keep Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford to keep quiet about what they knew about the phone-hacking. James Murdoch unbelievably told the committee that he was unaware of how much Mulcaire had been paid since he lost his job at the News of the World. Both James and Rupert Murdoch both refused to stop paying Mulcaire's legal fees (hush money). It appears that they are not sorry at all and are still doing what they can to cover-up what happened.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The main strategy adopted by James and Rupert Murdoch was that they were shocked and ashamed about the hacking scandal and that they were doing all they could to help the truth to come out. This proved to be a complete lie when the information was dragged out of James Murdoch (apparently, Rupert knew nothing about what was going on) that News International were still paying the legal fees of Glen Mulcaire, the man who hacked into 5,000 phones, including those of murder victims such as Milly Downer. Why would they do that if they were truly horrified by Mulcaire's behaviour. The reason of course is that they are paying for Mulclaire's silence. In the same way that they paid nearly 2 million to keep Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford to keep quiet about what they knew about the phone-hacking. James Murdoch unbelievably told the committee that he was unaware of how much Mulcaire had been paid since he lost his job at the News of the World. Both James and Rupert Murdoch both refused to stop paying Mulcaire's legal fees (hush money). It appears that they are not sorry at all and are still doing what they can to cover-up what happened.

News Corporation has decided to terminate arrangements to pay legal fees of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire "with immediate effect."

The law firm hired by News International in 2007 to review allegations of phone hacking says it is being prevented from responding to "inaccurate" comments made by James Murdoch. Mr Murdoch said a letter written by the law firm made executives at News International believe that hacking was a "matter of the past". Harbottle and Lewis says it is not being allowed to breach client confidentiality.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Glenn Mulcaire legal payments terminated by News International

Private investigator at centre of News of the World phone-hacking scandal was still having certain legal fees paid

By Caroline Davies and Lisa O'Carroll

guardian.co.uk,

Wednesday 20 July 2011 13.44 BST

News International has terminated "with immediate effect" its arrangement to pay the legal fees of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal.

The move follows evidence given by James Murdoch to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, when he told MPs he was "as surprised as you are" when he discovered "certain legal fees were paid to Mr Mulcaire" by News of the World publisher.

The News Corporation management and standards committee met on Wednesday morning and decided to terminate the arrangement.

It said in a statement: "News Corporation's management and standards committee met this morning and has decided to terminate the arrangement to pay the legal fees of Glenn Mulcaire with immediate effect.

"The MSC is authorised to co-operate fully with all relevant investigations and inquiries in the News of the World phone hacking case, police payments and all other related issues across News International as well as conducting its own inquiries where appropriate."

Mulcaire was jailed for intercepting voicemails on phones used by aides to Princes William and Harry at the behest of the News of the World, has run up a legal bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds as he battles a string of ongoing phone-hacking lawsuits.

He worked under contract for the News of the World until 2006 – and took careful notes of who at the newspaper commissioned his services. Detailed paperwork from his office was seized by the Met as part of their investigation into Mulcaire and former royal editor Clive Goodman. Both men were jailed in January 2007 for plotting to intercept voicemails belonging to royal aides, with Mulcaire receiving a six-month sentence.

The question of whether Mulcaire's fees were being paid by NI was raised by Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who asked: "Is the organisation still contributing to Glenn Mulcaire's legal fees?"

James Murdoch replied: "As I said earlier Mr Farrelly, I don't know the precise status of that now but I do know that I asked for those things – for the company to find a way for those things to cease with respect to these things."

When asked by Farrelly whether News International should stop contributing to Mulcaire's legal fees, James Murdoch said: "I would like to do that. I don't know the status of what we are doing now or what his contract was."

Farrelly then asked Rupert Murdoch the same question. "Provided we are not in breach of a legal contract, yes," he replied.

James Murdoch was asked would he let the committee know, and replied " I'm happy to follow up with the committee on the status of those legal fees."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Phone hacking: Mandarin targeted 'while Coulson was in Downing Street'

David Cameron promises investigation after Labour MP Nick Raynsford raises claim in parliament about senior official

By Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

guardian.co.uk,

Wednesday 20 July 2011 13.22 BST

The prime minister said he would look "closely" at the claims, raised in the Commons by a former Labour minister, that the cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, was alerted to the allegations.

Nick Raynsford, the former housing minister who raised the allegations, told MPs: "The prime minister has repeatedly emphasised that he has no evidence of any complaint or questions about the conduct of Andy Coulson while he was heading the government media service.

"Will the prime minister confirm that, a year ago, during the period when Mr Coulson was director of communications, the cabinet secretary was alerted to evidence of illegal phone hacking, covert surveillance and hostile media briefing directed against a senior official in the government service?

"What action, if any, was taken to investigate what appears to have been disgraceful and illegal conduct close to the heart of government?"

Cameron said: "I have to look very closely at what the honourable gentleman says. The point I have made – and I have never seen any evidence to go against it – is that in the period that Andy Coulson worked at No 10 Downing Street as head of communications there was no complaint abut the way he did his job. I fully accept, I take responsibility for employing him, I take responsibility for that decision.

"The time he spent in Downing Street he did not behave in a way that anyone felt was inappropriate. That is important because the decision was to employ him. The decision was then his to leave. During that period people cannot point to misconduct and say that therefore was a misjudgment."

The matter was later raised by Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP who chaired the commons education select committee during the last parliament. He asked the prime minister whether the intelligence services would be asked to give evidence about the monitoring of an official. Cameron said he never commented on intelligence matters.

A spokesman for the cabinet secretary said: "We are contacting the office of Nick Raynsford to ask for more details of his allegations."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...