News Corp. has been struck with a wave of legal allegations ever since it became public that employees of News International, itsU.S.newspaper unit, are suspected to have carried out multiple voicemail hackings of public figures and even murder victims. Specifically, members of the News of the World tabloid staff were accused of these wrongdoings.
Today, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and son James, who serves in the same position at News International, have agreed to attend a hearing before the U.K. Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee set on July 19. News International head Rebekah Brooks will also be attending the hearing.
“The parliamentary committee invited the two News Corp. executives to appear at a session scheduled Tuesday afternoon. The committee is expected to focus on recent allegations that have surfaced regarding allegations that News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid illegally accessed mobile-phone voice mails to get information.”
The scandal has garnered a lot of political attention, to such an extent that News Corp dropped its bid to buy the shares of British Sky Broadcasting Group (that it doesn’t yet own) hours before the U.K. Prime Minister intended to cancel the deal. A 2002 case that involved the hacking of the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was the one that really stirred the outcry. The incident interfered with police investigation because some messages were deleted, apparently to clear room for more.
It seems that News of the World has caused much more trouble than it’s worth for News International. Once the company’s most profitable newspaper, up until the announcement that this Sunday’s edition would be the final publication.
News Corp has a lot on its hands over at the U.K, but it may face even more difficult challenges in the U.S. Four Democratic senators asked the DOJ to investigate whether the publication broke the law on either side of theAtlantic. The company may have to face allegations over breeching the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, potential charges on phone hackings of 9/11 victims and civil lawsuits by investors over lost value (News Corp stock declined about 10 percent since last week.)