James Murdoch Admits to Authorizing Payments for Phone Hacking Scandal

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LONDON – News Corp. deputy COO James Murdoch came clean, admitting he knew of phone-hacking, or as he constantly referred to it, illegal voice mail interception, at The News of the World, as far back as 2008.

Murdoch Jnr., in giving lengthy evidence to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee in Parliament Tuesday, went on to say that payments made in respect of phone-hacking civil compensation claims had been authorized by him.

But James Murdoch added that he had been advised by the then News of The World editor Colin Mylerand News International’s chief legal counsel Tom Crone that such payments were “appropriate” and often occurred in such matters within the U.K.’s legal framework.

Said James Murdoch: “The advice I had was oral from Mr Myler and Mr Crone and that outside evidence had been taken and the case would be lost.”

He added: “The commercial and legal rationale was very clear. The underlying fact was very clear, the advice was very clear as to the damages that could be paid and it was quite clear that, if litigated, the company would lose that case,”

James Murdoch also told the Parliamentary committee that he has no knowledge that two of the highest profile resignations – that of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks or Les Hinton, Dow Jones CEO and Rupert Murdoch’s confidante of 40 years plus -- knew about phone hacking.

Their resignations had been accepted on that basis, James Murdoch said.

Rupert said he trusted both of them and would trust Hinton “with his life.”

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