News Corp Paid $1.6M to Hide Journos' Crimes

Tabloid hacked thousands of phones of stars, politicians

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 9, 2009 6:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – The British subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp paid out more than $1.6 million in out-of-court settlements to conceal illegal methods deployed by its journalists, including hacking cell phones, a Guardian investigation reveals. Phone-hacking charges were first raised in 2007 in a case involving Prince William, but suppressed police evidence shows that Murdoch's News of the World hired private investigators for hundreds of hacks to expose celebrities, sports stars, and even the former deputy prime minister.

The revelations raise difficult questions for News Corp execs, several of whom misled investigators and the public; the London police, who knew of the hacking but failed to inform victims or pursue charges; and Tory leader David Cameron, whose top adviser was editor of the News of the World when the alleged crimes took place. In Sun Valley, Murdoch denied any knowledge of the affair, but a former editor at his Sunday Times called the news "one of the most significant media stories of modern times."

Rupert Murdoch sits alongside Les Hinton in London. Behind them are Andy Coulson and Rebekah Wade, both former editors of the News of The World. Coulson is now a top adviser to the Tory Party.   (Getty Images)
Sun editor Rebekah Wade attends the Labour Party conference in 2006. She is to become CEO of News International, which controls the News of the World and other Murdoch papers.   (Getty Images)
Journalists at the News of the World hired PIs to hack into hundreds of cell phones, suppressed police evidence reveals.   (©Annie Mole)
News Corp's Rupert Murdoch at the annual Allen & Co.'s media summit in Sun Valley, Idaho on Wednesday, July 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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