Media mogul Rupert Murdoch will be invited to return to Parliament to explain his comments that suggested that bribing public officials was part of the "culture of Fleet Street," a U.K. government official said Tuesday.
Murdoch will be sent a written invitation requesting his appearance before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, said Jessica Bridges-Palmer, media officer for the committee.
The formal request to Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp., comes less than a week after revelations of the secret recording.
The tape was obtained by an investigative website in the U.K. On it, Murdoch was heard to disparage police officers probing the ethics scandal that has roiled News Corp.'s operations in the U.K. for the last two years.
"The cops are totally incompetent," Murdoch said.
Murdoch made the comments in March during a meeting with staff members of the Sun newspaper in London. In an ironic twist, one of the journalists who attended the small gathering had secretly recorded the 82-year-old press baron, who was attempting to show his support for his scandal-tainted team of journalists.
Scotland Yard also is reportedly interested in obtaining a copy of the recording.
Two years ago, Murdoch and his son James Murdoch appeared before the same committee of Parliament. At the time, the two Murdochs said they were unaware of the phone hacking at the company's U.K. tabloids. Murdoch called his appearance before Parliament "the most humble day of my life."
"He is going to be invited, most likely later today, to come back before the committee to give evidence," Bridges-Palmer said. "He will be asked to discuss his comments."
Parliament is preparing to go on a six-week recess, so it is unclear when a Murdoch appearance would occur. In addition, the committee simply will invite Murdoch to give testimony rather than compel his appearance.
"We will await his response," Bridges-Palmer said.
A News Corp. spokesperson declined to comment Tuesday, saying the company has not received communication from the committee. Last week, News Corp. forcefully denied that Murdoch was aware of illicit payments or that he condoned the practice.
“Mr. Murdoch never knew of payments made by Sun staff to police before News Corporation disclosed that to UK Authorities. Furthermore, he never said he knew of payments. It’s absolutely false to suggest otherwise," News Corp. said in a statement.
The phone hacking scandal has been enormously costly. News Corp. has spent more than $350 million in legal costs and settlements to victims of the widespread phone hacking. News Corp. nearly two years ago shut down the News of the World tabloid in the wake of the scandal. Since then, journalists with the company's the Sun tabloid have been caught up in the police investigation of alleged payments to government officials.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Justice has been reviewing whether the phone hacking and illicit payments generating from News Corp.'s U.K. operations constitute violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids executives who work for U.S.-based companies from bribing foreign officials.
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