Murdoch Could Be In U.S. Legal Trouble Too

The Independent reports:

Rupert Murdoch’s global empire is set to face new legal action in the US over alleged illegal practices by News Corp journalists. The lawyer at the heart of the phone-hacking scandal in the UK, Mark Lewis, who was instrumental in exposing the scale of illegal voicemail accessing at the News of the World, is in the “advanced stages” of bringing his first case against News Corp on the other side of the Atlantic.

The news comes as Mr Murdoch prepares to fly to London following a series of arrests of senior Sun journalists.

The prospect of Mr Lewis supervising legal action in the US will do little to reassure the embattled board of News Corp that a new front on illegal practices is about to open in their own back yard. US authorities, including the FBI, are already accelerating their own inquiries into the Murdoch media empire over alleged violations of US law on corrupt payments to foreign officials.

Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, it is a crime for U.S. businesses or their employees to pay off representatives of a foreign government in an attempt to gain a commercial advantage. Last July, Reuter’s James Ledbetter explained why that could apply to New Corp. That would be over and above any civil cases led by Lewis, of course.

And here’s the WSJ’s profile of Lewis from September last year.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Just read The Independent piece. It’s very good. The Guardian is pretty decent too.

    News Corp May Face US Inquiry – The Guardian Feb 13

    Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corporation faces the increased prospect of a full-blown inquiry by US authorities as part of the continuing investigation into alleged bribery of public officials under America’s foreign corrupt practices act, after the latest round of arrests of senior journalists at the Sun this weekend.

    Murdoch flies into London later this week on a scheduled visit at a time of turmoil for Britain’s best-selling newspaper, with journalists on the title angry at News Corp’s powerful management and standards committee (MSC), whose reconstruction and trawl of the company’s email archive produced the evidence that led to the arrests.

    This is how they get Murdoch in the United States. Very clever use of the law to bring the nihilist clan some justice.

    Running Rupert to Ground – Vox Populi, Vox Die – The Agonist July 18, 2011

    If Murdoch’s time has come, a variation of this scenario is available as you read these words.

    The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is used to prosecute bribes of foreign officials. Created in the late 1990s, the act was signed by thirty-four nations, including the US and the UK. The Justice Department has used the act frequently in recent years.

    News Corporation’s Rebekah Brooks has already admitted giving cash to the London Metropolitan Police at a 2003 public hearing. Brooks was editor of the News at the time.

    Federal prosecutors have combined the FCPA with The Travel Act of 1961 to increase the penalties and convictions for foreign bribery. Brooks is a citizen of the UK. However, her acts are the ultimate responsibility of Murdoch’s News Corporation, incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York City. The act outlaws travel and communications from one state or country to another country with the intent of violating the law. Federal prosecutors can indict perpetrators using applicable state law. New York State law classifies bribing a public official as a felony as is interfering with the administration of justice.. Therefore, News Corporation could be charged with felonies under The Travel Act, FCPA, and New York criminal code.

    The Money Party RSS

    Send the UN to The Hague

  • …I’m of the we’ll see crowd. Justice is only for the masses…

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • No 10 rebuffs newspaper as journalist claims they are being treated like ‘an organised crime gang’

    Ian Burrell

    Tuesday, 14 February 2012
    The Sun newspaper vainly turned to Downing Street for support yesterday as it sought to generate a backlash to what it described as a “witch hunt” police investigation into the alleged bribery of public officials by its journalists.

    The newspaper’s Associate Editor Trevor Kavanagh was given a platform by editor Dominic Mohan to claim that News International journalists were “being treated like members of an organised crime gang”.

    Yesterday morning, a Sun journalist invited Downing Street to agree that the police had deployed a disproportionate number of officers to investigating allegations of criminality at NI. Downing Street responded: “It is for the police to decide how they deploy police officers.”

    Mr Kavanagh, for years the paper’s political editor, then went on a tour of broadcast appearances that included Radio 4’s The World At One, Sky News’s Boulton & Co and Richard Bacon’s show on Radio 5 Live. In the latter interview, Mr Kavanagh accused the News Corporation Management & Standards Committee (MSC) of “actually boasting” that its work was “putting people in police cells”.

    What was extraordinary about these criticisms of Rupert Murdoch’s company is that they were being made not just by a senior employee but by a Murdoch ultra-loyalist, apparently with the sanction of the editor of News Corp’s most popular British newspaper.

    During the day, Sky video of Mr Kavanagh’s attack was placed on The Sun’s website and his outburst in the newspaper was vigorously re-Tweeted by the paper’s official Twitter account, and by Mr Kavanagh’s newsroom colleagues. This was open rebellion. NI sister paper The Times was briefed that Sun journalists were being thrown to the police simply for taking contacts out for a £50 lunch.

    The level of anger is great because the arrested journalists include some of the most respected figures in The Sun’s newsroom. The picture editor John Edwards, who was one of those raided on Saturday morning, is the son of the famous Sun photographer Arthur Edwards, a favourite of the Royal family. Another was deputy editor Geoff Webster, who is married to Alison Webster, the photographer who takes the paper’s Page Three topless photographs.

    Two more of those held, John Kay and Nick Parker, are among the paper’s finest story-getters and have dedicated their careers to The Sun. Both are very well connected in government departments and Kay has twice been named Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards. A veteran in his late 60s, he was persuaded by NI executives not to retire.

    Following the previous arrests of other newsroom big hitters such as crime editor Mike Sullivan and district reporter Jamie Pyatt, famed for his Royal scoops from Windsor Castle, The Sun’s editor must feel shorn of talent.

    Mr Mohan edited the paper on Sunday and a bumper edition of 104 pages was produced, 16 more than usual. On page 12 came Mr Kavanagh’s tirade.

    In his article,he claimed it was common for journalists to pay for information and that Sun reporters were being treated like “suspected terrorists” for having done something that “has been standard procedure as long as newspapers have existed here and abroad”.

    In fact, the cash culture at NI tabloids has long been different from that on most other titles. In the period under investigation, many experienced Sun journalists became used to going to the ground floor “cashiers” to obtain wads of cash to entertain or pay contacts. In return for signed chits, sums of £500 or £1,000 were readily handed over by women sitting behind a screen of reinforced glass. One former NI executive said: “It was very tempting to go downstairs and reward your contact so that they didn’t go off to a rival paper.”

    Mr Kavanagh also suggested that the Met investigation into journalistic malpractice was being “driven by politicians”. The reality is that it is being propelled by detectives angry at the damage the phone hacking scandal and allegations of corrupt officers has caused to the Yard’s reputation.

    The ferocity of the police action has caused News Corp’s MSC to plead with the Met to be less aggressive, a gesture which may be designed to quell dissent inside the company. The action does not guarantee respite. Suddenly The Sun, a title that for decades has fought with the Daily Mail to be considered “the copper’s paper”, finds itself being thoroughly turned over by the police.

    more at The Independent

  • The executive personal assistant to Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, has had her passport confiscated, been separated from her family and been forced to postpone a new career with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in Australia following her arrest as part of the phone-hacking affair.

    Cheryl Carter, who was arrested last month by officers from Scotland Yard’s Operation Weeting team, which was set up to investigate phone hacking at the News of the World, had been preparing to fly to Australia at the end of January to start a new life with News Ltd, part of News Corp.

    But following her arrest and further questioning, police have told her to remain in the UK. Her husband and family are understood to have flown to Australia to meet visa requirements.

    Ms Carter, 47, was the 17th person to be held by the Operation Weeting team. She was arrested at her home in Billericay, Essex, only days before she and her husband and two children were due to leave for Australia. She worked directly for Ms Brooks for many years and is understood to have left NI shortly after the former chief executive resigned from the company in the summer.


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