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article imageRupert Murdoch under FBI investigation

By Kay Mathews     Jul 14, 2011 in Crime
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into allegations that journalists at Murdoch’s News Corporation bribed police and hacked telephones in order to gain access to 9/11 victims’ phone records.
The Huffington Post reports that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has initiated an investigation aimed at discerning whether or not journalists working for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation hacked 9/11 victims’ phones.
A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, was quoted in the report as saying, “The decision to investigate was made after U.S. Rep. Peter King and several other members of Congress wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller demanding an investigation.”
The investigation, launched Thursday, has been opened but the official “declined to discuss the scope of it or say whether any investigative steps had been taken.”
Similarly, an article in The New York Times indicates that the scope of the inquiry is unclear at this point as are the specifics in terms of criminal violations and targets of any possible violations.
The New York Times did, however, clarify that journalists from News Corporation’s subsidiary, News of the World which recently closed, are the ones who allegedly attempted to use unauthorized wiretapping and bribery of police officers to obtain the phone records of Sept. 11 victims.
The public corruption and white-collar crimes squad and the cybercrimes squad within the F.B.I.’s New York Field Office are expected to handle the investigation.
This F.B.I. inquiry comes on the heels of, and is related to, the scandal that brought down News Corporation’s News of the World publication. As reported on Digital Journal, the News of the World scandal that prompted the Milly Dowler inquiry also involved allegations of phone hacking.
Founded by Rupert Murdoch, who currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation is a global media empire involved in film, newspapers, publishing, cable, television, and the like.
The scandal in the United Kingdom and the current probe by the F.B.I. has caused the company’s stock price to plummet, and, according to Forbes, has investors wondering if the entire company will be dragged down.
Murdoch, 80, is reportedly defending the company’s handling of the scandal and was said to have told the Wall Street Journal, a publication owned by News Corporation, that “he is ‘just getting annoyed’ at all the recent negative press.”
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