James Murdoch recalled to testify in phone hacking scandal
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James Murdoch must appear once again before a committee of the British Parliament to answer more questions about when he first learned of the cellphone hacking scandal that has rocked his family’s media empire, News Corp.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said Tuesday that it was recalling the 38-year-old scion to try to sort out conflicting evidence in the ethics scandal that has damaged the reputations of the Murdoch family and raised questions over whether James Murdoch should eventually run the sprawling company.
When he first appeared with his father, Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch, before the prominent panel in July, James Murdoch said he did not learn of the widespread nature of the illegal activity at the now-defunct World of the News tabloid until late last year.
James Murdoch has been in charge of the company’s European and Asian operations since 2007, and earlier this year was promoted to deputy chief operating officer of the entire company.
However, two of his former underlings quickly challenged James Murdoch’s statements to Parliament, saying they had shared a crucial piece of evidence with him in 2008.
The two men -- Colin Myler, the former tabloid editor; and the publication’s lawyer Tom Crone, told the committee this month that they showed James Murdoch an email that suggested several people at the tabloid were involved in the hacking of cellphones of soccer stars, celebrities and members of the royal family. The three men met to discuss whether to settle a lawsuit brought by one of the phone hacking victims.
News Corp. had long maintained that one ‘rogue reporter’ and a corrupt investigator hired by the tabloid were responsible for the illicit eavesdropping. However, revelations in recent months have undermined the company’s initial statements and suggested a wider cover-up.
James Murdoch said he gave an accurate account during his appearance in July.
‘James Murdoch is happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have,’ a News Corp. spokeswoman said.
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-- Meg James