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News Corp Could Lose $1.6 Billion From Phone Hacking Scandal: Top Exec

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(FILES) This file photo taken on January 17, 2012 shows News International chief executive, New Zealand-born journalist Thomas Mockridge, arriving at the High Court in central London to give evidence at the Leveson Inquiry. Tom Mockridge, chief executive since July 2011 of News International, will leave his post at the end of the year, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the firm's parent company News Corporation, said on December 2, 2012. AFP PHOTO / FILES / CARL COURT (Photo credit should | Getty

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp could be facing an estimated $1.62 billion in costs as a result of the phone hacking scandal, one of the company's top executives revealed in a meeting that was secretly recorded and leaked to the media.

Exaro News obtained audio of a meeting held by Tom Mockridge, the former head of News Corp's British newspaper division.

"There's a shitload of just financial expense-- across the civil cases," Mockridge said. "The hacking probably, by the time it's all over, is going to cost News Corp minimum of £500 million, if not a billion."

Mockridge's estimate differs substantially from the figures previously announced by the company. Earlier estimates put the cost to News Corp at around $448 million.

The purpose of the meeting was to inform Sun journalists about the suspension of another colleague following the investigation into the company over illegal payments to police officers. Twenty-two Sun journalists have already been arrested after News Corp began handing over incriminating documents to police during the investigation.

During the meeting, one Sun journalist called it “one of the greatest acts of treachery in journalistic history."

“You ask me personally, I’d agree with you," Mockridge responded. "But again, it’s a decision the News Corporation company has made.”

Exaro also published a recording in July of another meeting, held in March, during which Murdoch raged against police.

Click here for the full transcript from the meeting.

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