Entries in James Murdoch (6)


Damning Emails Put Murdochs, UK Government Back in Headlines

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- After simmering on the backburner for months, the Murdoch scandal is back on the front pages of London’s newspapers on Wednesday with damning revelations that are igniting a new crisis for British Prime Minister David Cameron and his government.

More than 170 pages of James Murdoch’s emails have been released.  They show that senior staff in the office of Britain’s Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt’s were repeatedly giving confidential information to Murdoch’s lobbyist during critical negotiations over News Corps’ $13 billion efforts to take over BSkyB, Britain’s powerful and highly profitable satellite broadcaster.

Publicly, Hunt had insisted that he was acting independently and impartially, but the emails suggest he was secretly acting in the interest of the Murdochs.

On Wednesday, one of Hunt’s senior advisors resigned.  Now, there are widespread calls for Hunt’s resignation.  Hunt has dismissed those calls, telling parliament, “The idea that I was backing this bid is laughable.”

One email quotes Hunt referring to Murdoch’s efforts to push through the takeover, saying  “we’d get there in the end,” and adding he “shared” News Corporation’s objective.

But the smoking gun is in an email sent by Murdoch’s lobbyist the day before Hunt was to give a key speech in parliament about the takeover. 

The lobbyist wrote to James Murdoch: "Managed to get some infos [sic] on the plans for tomorrow (although absolutely illegal…!)”

The email goes on to give accurate information about what the minister would be saying a day later -- a serious breach of parliamentary privilege in Britain and explicit proof that the Murdochs were working inside the Cameron government.

That lead to screaming headlines in Wednesday morning’s London papers.

In parliament Wednesday, Opposition Leader Ed Miliband pounced on the revelations, saying a “shadow of sleaze” hangs over the Cameron government.

Not far from Westminster, James Murdoch’s father, Rupert, the scion of News Corp, began his first day of testimony at Britain’s media ethics inquiry.  The 81-year-old was sharp, focused and calm under examination.  He did get a little testy when pushed by what the inquiry counsel called subtle “sinister inferences” about his relationship with senior Conservative politicians in Britain.

“I’m afraid I don’t have much subtlety in me,” Murdoch responded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Murdoch Testifies in Leveson Inquiry in UK

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Rupert Murdoch and his son James are appearing before a British inquiry about press standards less than a year after being questioned at a parliamentary special committee over evidence of phone hacking at their defunct tabloid News of the World.

The widening hacking scandal rocked the media and police in a country where Murdoch owns many of the largest newspapers. 

James Murdoch is appearing first on Tuesday and Rupert Murdoch is scheduled to appear Wednesday and Thursday morning if necessary, the Guardian reported.

According to Hugh Tomlinson of the Queen's Council, the now defunct News of the World allegedly hacked the phones of 4,791 people, from stars to crime victims, to get juicy stories -- all with the encouragement of top editors at the paper and aided by some in the police force.

Rupert Murdoch is also expected to be grilled over allegations of impropriety at his other newspapers.

In February 2012, five employees of the British newspaper The Sun were arrested for allegededly making payments to public officials.  Four former and current Sun journalists were held in January, the BBC reported.

The Leveson inquiry, initiated by British Prime Minister David Cameron following the phone-hacking scandal, has heard from more than 100 witnesses since evidence hearings began in November, the Guardian reported.

Rupert Murdoch made a rare apology in British newspapers last year before echoing the sentiment at a parliamentary hearing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Murdoch Steps Down From News International

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Rupert Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch, has stepped down from his position as executive chairman of News International, News Corporation’s U.K. publishing unit that has been rocked by a phone hacking scandal and police investigation.

James Murdoch will focus on expanding News Corp.’s international television businesses, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

In November, James Murdoch resigned as a director of the companies, which publish the British newspapers The Sun and The Times and had relocated to News Corp.’s headquarters in New York.

James Murdoch, who remains in his position as chief operating officer of News Corp., has been under fire from the British parliament for responding too slowly after a phone hacking scandal began to unravel the News of the World.  The British tabloid published its last issue in July 2011 after revelations that it hacked the phone of Milly Dowler in 2002, a murdered teen.

James Murdoch had led News Corp.’s operations in Europe and Asia since 2007 and became chief operating officer in March 2011. Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., had reportedly been grooming his son to become a successor. News International launched its newest newspaper, The Sun, on Sunday.

“We are all grateful for James’ leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group’s strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “He has demonstrated leadership and continues to create great value at Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB. Now that he has moved to New York, James will continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on important pay-TV businesses and broader international operations.”

News Corp.’s television businesses are reportedly more lucrative arms of the company and include Fox Broadcasting and BSkyB in the U.K.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


James Murdoch Quits as Director of Controversial Media Group

Miguel Villagran/Getty Images(LONDON) -- James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has resigned as a director of News Group Newspapers, the company that publishes British newspapers The Sun and The Times, according to regulatory filings. The younger Murdoch still remains chairman of News International, which is under fire for a phone hacking scandal that led to the closing of its News of the World newspaper and a continuing inquiry in London.

In central London on Wednesday, lawmakers continued the third day of a week-long trial targeting the ethical abuses some British tabloids display in attempting to gather material for their publications.  This week has seen the biggest inquiry into this breach of privacy.

The parents of kidnapped Maddie McCann gave evidence Wednesday that accuses the press of extreme invasion of privacy.  Gerry and Kate McCann told how journalists hounded them, swarmed their house and followed them to Portugal when they returned to the place of their daughter’s alleged kidnapping. The McCanns told of false headlines being printed alluding to them being responsible for Maddies’ murder, all in the name of boosting circulation figures.

Maddie was nearly four years old when she vanished from her family’s vacation apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal on May 3, 2007, while her parents dined with friends nearby. They denied any involvement in her disappearance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


James Murdoch Testifying About Phone Hacking Scandal Again

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- News Corp. chief operating officer James Murdoch is testifying Thursday in front of a parliamentary select committee in London on a phone hacking scandal that has rocked the company and the family of its leader, Rupert Murdoch.

Shareholders and politicians have called for a shake-up on the News Corp. board, which includes Rupert Murdoch and two of his sons, James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch.  The family owns 40 percent of the company.

Last month, shareholders re-elected the 13 News Corp. board members at the annual shareholder meeting to the dismay of outspoken shareholders, including Christian Brothers Investment Service (CBIS), which manages about $4 billion for Catholic institutions.

At the meeting, James Murdoch was re-elected with 65 percent of votes received, while Lachlan Murdoch received 66 percent support for re-election.  More than 84 percent of votes were in favor of re-electing Rupert Murdoch.

"I think it was a clear and unmistakable message from shareholders not a part of the Murdoch family in favor of good corporate governance and strong independent leadership," Julie Tanner, assistant director of socially responsible investing at CBIS, told ABC News.

Not counting the 317 million shares of Rupert Murdoch, who presumably voted in favor of his sons, the votes against James and Lachlan Murdoch were 67 percent and 64 percent, respectively, Tanner said.

A spokeswoman for News Corp. declined to comment on whether James Murdoch's position with the company is in danger.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks to Testify Before British Parliament

Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Rupert Murdoch and his son James will appear before British Parliament on Tuesday to be grilled by a special committee over evidence of phone hacking at the defunct tabloid News of the World.

Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International -- the company that owns the tabloid -- is also scheduled to testify.  Brooks resigned from her position on Friday and was arrested by London police on Sunday for her alleged involvement in the scandal.

The widening controversy has rocked the media, police and the public in Britain, where Murdoch owns many of the country's largest newspapers.  It is alleged that his now defunct News of the World hacked the phones of 4,000 people, from stars to crime victims, to get juicy stories -- all with the encouragement of top editors at the paper and aided by some in the police force.

Rupert Murdoch made a rare apology over the weekend, publishing a full-page ad in British newspapers.

"We are sorry.  The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account.  It failed when it came to itself," Murdoch wrote in the ad.

The elder Murdoch is a man "who meets power with power" and is not going to leave News Corp. willingly, biographer Michael Wolff told Bloomberg News.  Wolff's book, The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch, was published in 2008.

The Murdoch name has been synonymous with News Corp. even before it was incorporated in 1979.  Rupert Murdoch, the only son of Sir Keith Murdoch, took over his father's newspaper publishing business, News Limited, after Murdoch Sr. passed away in 1952.

After decades of cutthroat competition and shifting technology, the Murdoch family and embattled News Corp., which owns FOX News Channel, The Wall Street Journal and publisher Harper Collins, among other assets, now face the tough challenge of surviving a scandal that has even rocked Scotland Yard.

On Sunday, Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police commissioner and head of Scotland Yard, resigned.  A day later, John Yates, who led the police counter-terrorism department, also stepped down.

After the dust clears, Rupert Murdoch reportedly hopes one of his children will eventually take the reigns of what has been called the second-largest media congolmerate in the world in terms of 2010 revenue, second only to Disney, which owns ABC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio