Rupert Murdoch: News Corp. Will Pay Legal Fees For Arrested Sun Staff

5:46 AM PST 02/17/2012 by Mimi Turner
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of a high-stakes meeting, he told staff he would launch a new title, The Sun on Sunday, "very soon" and stay in London for several weeks to "give you my unwavering support."

LONDON: Rupert Murdoch has told News International staff that he plans to launch the Sun on Sunday and that arrested staff will have their suspensions lifted.

In a high-stakes meeting at the company’s headquarters in Wapping, Murdoch told staff in an email that the new Sunday title would launch “very soon” and that the situation with regards to the internal investigation caused him “great pain.”

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Murdoch said staff who have been arrested would still be welcome at the newspaper, and that News Corp. would cover their legal fees.

“We are doing everything we can to assist those who were arrested -- all suspensions are hereby lifted until or whether charged and they are welcome to return to work. News Corporation will cover their legal expenses. Everyone is innocent unless proven otherwise.”

Murdoch went on to try and allay staff anxieties over a situation that has left an unprecedented rift between staff and the parent company.

“My continuing respect makes this situation a source of great pain for me, as I know it is for each of you,” he wrote.

But he said News Corporation would continue to comply with the investigation fully.

“We will obey the law. Illegal activities simply cannot and will not be tolerated – at any of our publications. Our Board of Directors, our management team and I take these issues very seriously.”

“Murdoch entered the headquarters of his East London newspaper group in a silver Range Rover with blacked-out windows to face one of the most difficult crises of his professional life.

Photographers and camera crews from around the world had been waiting since the early morning for the News Corp. boss to make his appearance – he is expected to use the trip to talk to staffers at The Sun, many of whom are all but in revolt at the way their colleagues are now under police scrutiny.

So far 12 former and serving reporters have been arrested. Murdoch has found himself caught between his genuine loyalties for the print media – and for his flagship paper The Sun in particular – and the prospect of a damaging corruption investigation into News Corp.’s foreign practices as more allegations of wrongdoing emerge.

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