Reporters for Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid made a habit of paying off not just the police but also public officials, normalizing a "culture ... of illegal payments," the officer leading the police investigation into News International told an inquiry today. "Systems have been created to facilitate those payments whilst hiding the identity" of a "network of corrupted officials," the officer added. The revelation could escalate US agencies' investigation of News Corp, should it hand the FBI or other US agencies new evidence, Reuters reports.
The officer added that the payments were OKed "at a very senior level within the newspaper," and weren't insignificant sums: The investigation turned up a $125,000 payment to a single official. The New York Times adds that the corrupt officials in question include ones in the Health Ministry and prison service, among others. In a statement, Murdoch called such activities "ones of the past" that "no longer exist at the Sun."