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News Corp. Phone Hacking Lawsuits Now Exceed 100

UPDATED: The U.K. newspaper unit of Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate faces new claims, including from British actors, TV personalities and soccer stars, and more are expected.

LONDON - News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit has to deal with 46 additional civil lawsuits that have been filed in British courts and allege phone hacking by shuttered News of the World tabloid, the Wall Street Journal reported.

That brings the total number of hacking cases, whether settled or unresolved, against the conglomerate led by chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch to more than 100, it said, citing a U.K. lawyer representing many claimants. The company's U.K. newspaper unit, News International, has so far settled about 60 cases.

The lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, told the British High Court here on Friday that this likely won't be the end of legal action against the News Corp. unit. London's Metropolitan Police has identified 1,174 likely victims in their phone hacking probe, said the Journal, which is owned by News Corp.

Among the new wave of suits are some from well-known figures, the Guardian reported later in the day. It mentioned Cherie Blair, the wife of the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, comedian Bobby Davro, actor Tina Hobley, TV personalities Jamie Theakston and soccer stars Peter Crouch and Wayne Rooney.

To-date, nobody has been charged with a crime in the phone hacking investigations, but prosecutors said earlier this week that they were considering bringing charges against 11 people. One of them is believed to be Rebekah Brooks, the long-time Murdoch ally who used to be the CEO of News International.

A lawyer for News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit said that the company is determined to settle all possible civil suits, according to the Journal.

On Thursday, it was announced that Murdoch and son James Murdoch, deputy COO of News Corp., would appear in front of a U.K. government-funded panel investigating phone hacking and media standards.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai