MEDIA

James Murdoch Returns To Parliament: Eight New Phone Hacking Allegations He May Have To Answer

On Thursday, News International chief executive James Murdoch faces Parliament to answer questions about phone hacking -- a scandal that has plagued his family's company for months.

It will be the second time that Murdoch, the son of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, finds himself in the hot seat over phone hacking. The scandal exploded in July with revelations that the News of the World tabloid hacked the voice messages of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler among other people.

The younger Murdoch, who presides over the company's European operations, has come under mounting pressure over what he knew about phone hacking at the paper. In July, he testified that he knew nothing about phone hacking at the News of the World until 2010, and that he signed off on payments to phone hacking victim Gordon Taylor without knowing why.

But Murdoch's testimony has been repeatedly challenged by former News of the World employees and company lawyers. They allege that he was fully aware of phone hacking at the time of the Gordon Taylor settlement. The past three months have seen the executive come under mounting pressure, and new evidence that sharply contradict the account he gave in July.

Their claims have already forced James Murdoch to clarify his statements via letter to Parliament.

Here are eight of the revelations that have surfaced since Murdoch's last testimony. He is likely to be grilled about many of them on Thursday:

  • Colin Myler, former editor, and Tom Crone, the former lawyer, have challenged Murdoch's account that he approved payouts to Gordon Taylor without knowing why. Myler and Crone said that they showed Murdoch an email between private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and former reporter Neville Thurlbeck, which contained transcripts of Taylor's voice messages.

  • An internal News International memo also shows evidence of the alleged meeting about the email between Myler and James Murdoch. The memo refers to the email containing a large number of transcripts from Taylor's phone.
  • Another memo contains potentially incriminating notes taken by lawyer Julian Pike. The notes, taken after the alleged meeting between Myler and Murdoch, mention that Murdoch wanted to think through the options.
  • Clive Goodman -- the News of the World reporter who took the fall for phone hacking -- has alleged that phone hacking was widespread and that there was a massive cover-up at the tabloid.
  • News of the World editor Neville Thurlbeck was dismissed over phone hacking, but has insisted that he played no part in the reason for his firing and that the people who were responsible "will eventually be revealed."
  • The News of the World hired private investigators to spy on two of the lawyers representing phone hacking victims. The surveillance took place over the past eighteen months, while James Murdoch was in charge of parent company News International.
  • In November, it was revealed that Rebekah Brooks, former editor of News of the World and chief of News International, received $2.7 million and the use of an office as part of her severance package.
  • As of September, News International was still paying legal fees for Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who the News of the World paid to hack phones -- despite News Corp.'s move to stop the payments starting July.
  • PHOTO GALLERY
    Phone Hacking/Bribery Scandal Timeline
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