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James Murdoch Accuses Colin Myler And Tom Crone Of Misleading MPs Over Phone Hacking

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JAMES MURDOCH
James Murdoch pushed the blame onto Crone and Myler | PA Images

James Murdoch has accused former News of the World editor Colin Myler and legal chief Tom Crone of misleading MPs about what he knew about phone-hacking.

The News International boss said he "disputed vigorously" the version of events put forward by the company's ex-employees.

The comments came as Mr Murdoch gave evidence to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee on the scandal for the second time.

Mr Murdoch denied that he had known as long ago as 2008 that phone hacking had not been limited to a single reporter at the newspaper.

He rejected Mr Myler and Mr Crone's suggestion that they had made him aware of the contents of the so-called "For Neville" email - indicating the wider extent of phone hacking at the paper - at a meeting in June that year.

Asked by Labour MP Tom Watson whether he had personally misled the committee in his previous evidence, Mr Murdoch said: "No, I did not."

He added: "I believe this committee was given evidence by individuals either without full possession of the facts, or now it appears in the process of my own discovery... it was economical."

Pressed on whether that meant Mr Myler and Mr Crone had misled the committee, Mr Murdoch replied: "Certainly in the evidence they gave to you in 2011 in regard to my own knowledge, I believe it was inconsistent and not right, and I dispute it vigorously." He added: "I believe their testimony was misleading and I dispute it."

Committee member Tom Watson told Mr Murdoch that former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck had claimed that Mr Crone had informed him that Mr Murdoch was shown the so-called "For Neville" email which suggested phone hacking went beyond a single rogue reporter.

Mr Watson told Mr Murdoch: "You must be the first mafia boss in history who didn't know he was running a criminal enterprise." The News International chief responded that the MP's comments were "inappropriate".

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