Fox Lays Out Its Defense in FCC Filing : TV: Network says it made clear in 1985 the funding role of Australian-based News Corp.

From Associated Press

Fox, embroiled in a dispute over whether it misled federal regulators when it set out to build a new television network a decade ago, insisted Monday that it clearly laid out its ownership structure at the time.

"There's never been any mystery at all about it," Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch said.

And as part of 200 pages filed with the Federal Communications Commission, a Columbia Law School professor retained by Fox contended that the company was clear about the role of Australian-based News Corp. in supplying capital for the venture when Fox applied to the FCC in 1985.

Because News Corp. is controlled by Murdoch, a naturalized U.S. citizen, Fox has said the network's structure complies with foreign-ownership restrictions.

"I cannot find a trace of concealment in the documents submitted to the commission in connection with the 1985 applications and nothing of consequence that can be regarded as uncertain or ambiguous," Prof. Marvin Chirelstein said.

The FCC is investigating whether Fox misled the commission about its ownership structure when seeking approval to acquire six TV stations that became the foundation of the network.

"We are within the law," Murdoch said at a news conference Monday. "The difference is, I'm an American. I've been a taxpayer for 24 years, either as a resident or a citizen."

Fox has maintained that regulators knew all along that all but 1% of the $600 million used to purchase the stations was put up by News Corp.

Three days ago, a top FCC official involved in the 1985 review said he was not aware at the time that News Corp. was putting up virtually all of the money to buy the stations and that he would have required Fox to provide more information to the commission.

Chirelstein's statement was part of the documents Fox filed with the FCC on Monday in response to an agency investigation into the company's ownership.

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