News Corp. Receives Letter From Justice Department Related to Foreign Bribes Probe

Rupert Murdoch

U.S. prosecutors are seeking information for an investigation into whether the company's tabloid newspapers paid U.K. policemen for news tips.

The Justice Department is requesting information from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. related to a foreign bribery investigation, Bloomberg News reported, citing anonymous sources.

Specifically, the government is requesting information about alleged payments made by the company's U.K. tabloids to British policemen for news tips.

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U.S. prosecutors made the request in a letter sent last week that's part of an investigation into whether News Corp. violated America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law that prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials.

Legal experts told the Wall Street Journal that the Justice Department's decision to send a "letter of request" vs. a criminal subpoena indicates the government has opted for a "less confrontational approach."

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Earlier this year, News Corp. retained attorney Mark Mendelsohn, the Justice Department's former head of FCPA enforcement.

Reps for News Corp. and the Justice Department declined to comment on the letter.

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The news as News Corp. is in the midst of trying to settle several lawsuits in the wake of its News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the paper's employees had hacked into the voicemails of murdered teen Milly Dowler as well as some actors and other stars.

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The news led to the paper's closure and also sparked the investigation into whether the paper's employees had paid police officers for confidential information.

Earlier this week, the company made a $4.7 million offer to Dowler's family, which would be the largest sum ever paid out by a newspaper owner.