I spoke to the Australian Federal Police media department this morning and asked them if they were investigating News Corporation for breaching Australian bribery laws. They replied in the afternoon with the below response.
“The AFP is evaluating referrals to determine any jurisdictional issues or offences under Australian law.”
I personally made a formal complaint to the Federal Police given my previous post “Rupert Murdoch and News Corp guilty of breaching bribery laws in Australia“. As a citizen if you know or believe a crime has been committed you have a moral obligation to report it to the police. I also raised it with the Attorney General, Minister for Home Affairs and the Greens Senators. No point raising it with the Liberal Party as it is well-known they are Rupert Murdoch’s pocket.
But the AFP does not refer to a complaint, it says they are “evaluating referrals”. The only ones that make referrals to the Federal Police are Politicians, other government departments and companies.
Also I doubt that I am the only one in the country to realise that a prime facie case is rock solid against News Corp for breaching Australian bribery laws.
My complaint was only in relation to breaching bribery laws but one would suspect other referrals may have covered other laws. I do recall reading that bribing overseas officials could also be a breach of Australian money laundering laws as well as other laws. And some may have concerns in relation to phone hacking etc.
One thing I must say is that News Corporation have an obligation to refer it to the Australian Federal Police themselves and if they have not it would be very disturbing.
The reason being is that I have also raised it with senior management at both News Ltd here in Australia (Greg Baxter, Director, Corporate Affairs and Creina Chapman, Manager Corporate Affairs) and News Corporation in the United States (Teri Everett, Senior Vice President and Jack Horner, Vice President Corporate Affairs & Communications) . If they have failed to report it to the AFP they could also be charged with the concealment of a crime. Previously the Reserve Bank of Australia directors referred suspected overseas bribery to the Federal Police which has led to 8 arrests recently.
In relation to “jurisdictional issues or offences under Australian law” this was also covered in my previous post “Rupert Murdoch and News Corp guilty of breaching bribery laws in Australia“. The relevent sections of the law are covered and so are the jurisdictional issues. The Federal Police has jurisdiction up until News Corporation moved to the US in 2004/2005 and given the criminal conduct started before this they can investigate and prosecute. What jurisdiction the Federal Police has after they moved to the US maybe contentious, but I believe they still have jurisdiction given that News Corporation still have a listing on the Australian Stock Market. This is something that needs to be at least tested in court and up to the High Court if need be. I think it would be very strange that a company can be listed on the Australian Stock Market but be exempt from Australian laws, but even if this was the case we get back to point one which is the bribery started before they moved to the US. That is confirmed in the Rebekah Brooks video in my previous post. (Click here to watch)
One would have to surmise that a formal announcement by the Australian Federal Police would be imminent. Probably a day or two after Rupert and James Murdoch give evidence before the British Parliament select committee tomorrow. Best wait and see what they have to say there first.
It is worth noting the conduct of News Ltd over the last few days. News Ltd is the subsidiary of News Corp that holds its Australian assets.
News Ltd and its CEO and Chairman John Hartigan have been doing everything possible to make sure that they are not tarnished with what is happening in England.
It was reported on the website Crikey.com.au last Friday that John Hartigan announced that News Ltd would “be conducting a thorough review of all editorial expenditure over the past 3 years to confirm that payments to contributors and other third parties were for legitimate services.”
In other words they are looking for corrupt payments to suspect characters for suspect work. The fact that it only goes back three years says it all. It is nothing more than a PR Stunt by John Hartigan and News Ltd. The Police bribes in England go back at least some 8 or 9 years and the hacking of the mobile phone of Milly Dowler, the young girl that was killed, was in 2002 almost ten years ago.
The News of The World reporter Clive Goodman went to jail in 2007 which is four years ago.
So John Hartigan and News Ltd decide to do an audit for the last three years when most of the corruption had stopped in the UK and if it was happening in Australia probably stopped here as well. How sincere are Mr Hartigan and News Ltd?
Mr Hartigan went on to say:
“So far this week we have seen:
- a major television news bulletin report that News Limited executives were suspects in the phone hacking scandal – they apologised and corrected this the following night
- a federal senator call on the Government to investigate whether News Limited was engaging in phone hacking even as he admitted he had no evidence of any wrongdoing by News in Australia
- the ABC report that the former head of the National Crime Authority wanted the Government to establish a new regulatory body “to ensure that Mr Murdoch’s Australian media operation was behaving responsibly”. In fact, he said no such thing; he has proposed a new press council to govern all media
- accusations that we don’t disclose our code of conduct and that most of our journalists are unaware of it and that it isn’t available online – this is simply false
However erroneous the allegations, I believe it is important to deal with these perceptions constructively.” (Click here to read the full article) It was only the day before that I raised with News Ltd that News Corp had breached Australian Bribery laws but he did not mention that in the above. I suppose he has left that up to head office to deal with.
Update: Tuesday 19th July 2011
I just spoke to Greg Baxter, Director, Corporate Affairs News Ltd at 12.58pm. I asked him if he had any comment in relation to the Australian Federal Police reviewing referrals into criminal allegations against News Corp. He said he knew nothing about it. He asked if I am the Shane Dowling that runs the website Kangaroo Court of Australia and I said yes. He said there is no point discussing anything with me and hung up.
Given the serious allegations that I have made against News Corporation I think that is quite scandalous. He failed to at least refute the allegations which I suppose is a bit hard given the prima facie case is made out. Even so he should have at least dealt with it in a more professional manner not just hang up.
The last few posts I have gotten caught up in current affairs but everything permitting my next post will get back on track to what this site is about and will cover Chief Federal Magistrate John Pascoe. It will not be a boring read so check back in the next few days.
It would be greatly appreciated if you took a minute and use the email and social network links below and let as many people as you can know about this post.
If you would like to be notified by email when there is a new post/story on this site please use the section titled “Email Subscription” which is on the right hand side of the page and on the bottom of this page. Thank you for your support.