MEDIA

James Murdoch Could Face Criminal Charges In Phone Hacking Scandal

07/09/2011 08:23 am ET | Updated Sep 08, 2011

As if things couldn't get any worse for the Murdoch empire, new reports are emerging that James Murdoch--the head of News Corp's international holdings, and, until recently, the seeming heir apparent to father Rupert Murdoch--could face criminal charges in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Murdoch has admitted that he authorized out-of-court settlements to victims of phone hacking during his time as head of News International, the British division of News Corp--and that the company misled Parliament repeatedly. Murdoch said that he did these things without "full possession of the facts."

The Guardian reports that this admission--and reported payments to British police officers--may render Murdoch criminally liable under both British and American legislation:

The payments could leave News Corp - and possibly James Murdoch himself - facing the possibility of prosecution in the US under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) - legislation designed to stamp out bad corporate behaviour that carries severe penalties for anyone found guilty of breaching it - and in the UK under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 which outlaws the interception of communications.

Section 79 of the so-called RIPA act covers "the criminal liability of directors." Speaking to the BBC, Alan Johnson, the former British Home Secretary who was responsible for the UK's criminal justice system, said he thinks Murdoch could be prosecuted under the act.

Since News Corp. is technically an American company, Murdoch could also be prosecuted under the FCPA, since the legislation, in the Justice Department's words, "was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business."

FCPA expert Mike Koehler told the Guardian he would be "very surprised" if U.S. authorities did not get involved.

10/07/2011 11:48 BST

Ken Livingstone Says During His Time As Mayor No One Said There Was A Cover-Up.

He tells the Politics Show that no one from the Guardian, the paper who exposed the scandal, said there were more revelations to come or he would have demanded the police investigate.

10/07/2011 11:43 BST

Former Cabinet Minister David Mellor On Sky:

It's a sense, this 1930s chicago element of this, that all these people, including the Prime Minister, were so frightened of Murdoch either because of his political power, or frightened because they'd wake up one morning and find something in the papers their wife wouldn't like.

I worry about Dave Cameron because he seems to be getting all of this wrong.

He should stand up now and say 'I've told Rupert Murdoch, do not embarrass me by pursuing this application because the British public will not have it. Instead of which he doesn't, fumbles around. He's lost ground.

After all those times having happy little drinkies with Rebekah Brooks the Prime Minister owes it to all of us to raise his game.

10/07/2011 11:35 BST

Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis Tells The Politics Show:

"It’s a new era, and politicians have a duty to speak out for the public.”

10/07/2011 11:32 BST

Chris Bryant: Yates Should Go

@ ChrisBryantMP : It is inconceivable that Yates cd remain. He misled parliament - and when I called him on it, threatened to sue. and who paid his lawyers?

10/07/2011 11:23 BST

Rupert Murdoch Has Arrived In London

The BBC reports

10/07/2011 11:12 BST

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond on Sky stresses that Ofcom "at any time" can intervene on the basis of fitness and properness of News International to buy out BSkyB.

10/07/2011 10:47 BST

Simon Hughes' Full Quote About The BSkyB Merger And Voting With Labour

“The position for this week is clear, I think, if there’s a debate and vote in the House of Commons, I will be suggesting to my colleagues that we as a party, a party that’s never been close to Murdoch, never been in this inner loop, I think we should make clear that we think there should be a postponement of the decision.

There shouldn’t be a decision while the police investigations are going on, and we should let the police investigations run their course.

And can I add I don’t think it’s only the News of the World, if the judicial inquiry does it’s full work, which will be in the frame of what the information commissioner made clear in 2006, that many titles, owned by many different people, and other titles owned by News International which have been guilty, not just of hacking but of other offences. And I think that now is the time we bring all of that up.”

10/07/2011 10:36 BST

A Sunday Times Journalist Tweets About Chris Huhne's Allegations Her Paper Hacked

@ camillalong : Do we think Chris Huhne's suggestion that the ST is involved in hacking is anything to do with our 3+ damaging stories about his driving?

10/07/2011 10:18 BST

Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger On Whether He Warned Number 10 On Coulson

He tells Sky that he "got messages through to all the three party leaders" about the extent of revelations to follow.

10/07/2011 10:10 BST

Simon Hughes Is On Sky:

He says he will suggest to his colleagues to "make clear" that there should be a postponement of the BSkyB merger. He also says he thinks other titles have been guilty of hacking and "other offences".

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