Claims say J. Murdoch misled lawmakers

July 22, 2011 at 7:07 AM
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LONDON, July 22 (UPI) -- News Corp. executive James Murdoch misled lawmakers when he testified before a parliamentary committee, two former News of the World officials said.

The two former executives said Murdoch's testimony concerning an out-of-court settlement to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, was "mistaken," The Guardian reported Thursday.

Murdoch is chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp.'s Europe and Asia operations, overseeing assets such as News International, the parent company of News of the World.

The statement prompted the House of Commons Media Select Committee to announce it would seek an explanation from Murdoch about the contradiction when he testifies Tuesday about the phone-hacking scandal that prompted the weekly tabloid's closing, and led to several arrests and several resignations of newspaper and police officials.

Colin Myler, News of the World editor when it closed two weeks ago, and Tom Crone, the paper's former head of legal affairs, said they told Murdoch about an e-mail that would have rocked claims only one "rogue reporter" was involved in the phone-hacking scandal. The e-mail is thought to have been critical in the decision by News International, the tabloid's parent, to pay about $1.1 million to Taylor in an out-of-court settlement after he threatened to sue News of the World.

In their statement, Myler and Crone said, "[We] would like to point out that James Murdoch's recollection of what he was told when agreeing to settle the Gordon Taylor litigation was mistaken. In fact, we did inform him of the … e-mail, which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor's lawyers."

A statement issued by News Corp. said, "James Murdoch stands by his testimony to the select committee" that the e-mail was concealed from him.

Meanwhile, Sky News reported lawmaker Chris Bryant wrote to News Corp.'s non-executive directors, asking that Rupert and James Murdoch be suspended from News Corp.'s board.

The BBC reported the FBI plans to contact British actor Jude Law about claims his phone was hacked while he was in the United States. It is alleged a 2003 News of the World story was based on information from Law's voice mail.

The Wall Street Journal, also a News Corp. property, said the U.S. Justice Department is preparing subpoenas to investigate allegations of News Corp. hacking of voice mail of Sept. 11 victims, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Matt Nixson, features editor for The Sun, was fired because he worked at News of the World when it was edited by Andy Coulson, the former communications director for Prime Minister David Cameron arrested in the scandal.

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