Rupert Murdoch Won't Return to U.K. Parliament for Questioning (Report)

10:29 AM PST 09/24/2013 by Stuart Kemp
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The media mogul's lawyers and the Committee legal teams both advise against his questioning for fear of prejudicing upcoming phone-hacking trials.

LONDON – Calls for News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch to return to give more evidence to the Media Select Committee of the British parliament's House of Commons after secretly recorded comments he made about bribes in the British newspaper industry and the phone-hacking probes in July this year have been dropped, according to a report in the Financial Times of London.

His recall to the committee so the cross-party government reps could ask him to provide further evidence following publication of his taped comments has been dropped as legal teams for both the Committee and Murdoch said any appearance would prejudice criminal trials relating to the News of the World and The Sun phone-hacking scandal.

According to a report in The Financial Times Tuesday media select committee chairman John Whittingdale and his committed have dropped the call for the media mogul to return.

The criminal trials into phone-hacking are set to begin next month.

Murdoch had agreed to appear before the committee when invited in July to answer fresh questions over secret tape recordings of a meeting he had with more than 20 Sun journalists who have been arrested in connection with alleged unlawful payments to police and other public officials for stories.

The first trial related to the activities of News International, which is now renamed News UK, is scheduled to start Oct. 28 and involves eight defendants including Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, and David Cameron's former spin doctor, Andy Coulson, who was a former News of the World editor. Brooks and Coulson have pleaded not guilty.

The aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal, which saw Murdoch close down the News of the World and restructure his media holdings, has cost News Corp $382 million in legal fees and civil claims over the past two years, according to the company's annual report.

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