It has been reported in the UK that Rupert Murdoch will be interviewed by Scotland Yard in the very near future in regards to his knowledge and involvement in the phone hacking scandal.
The Guardian says:
“Rupert Murdoch has been officially informed by Scotland Yard that detectives want to interview him as a suspect as part of their inquiry into allegations of crime at his British newspapers.”
“It is understood that detectives first contacted Murdoch last year to arrange to question him but agreed to a request from his lawyers to wait until the phone-hacking trial was finished.”
“The interview is expected to take place in the near future in the UK and will be conducted “under caution”, the legal warning given to suspects. His son James, who was the executive chairman of News International in the UK, may also be questioned.” (Click here to read more)
At issue is not just potential charges directly for Rupert Murdoch but possible charges for his company and the directors for failing their duties which would also include Murdoch. It has also been written that possible charges in the US could follow as well.
Breaching Australian Laws
What has been badly missed is that charges could conceivably be made by Australian police in relation to breaching Australian International bribery laws.
“It is a criminal offence under Australian law to bribe a foreign public official. Details of the offence can be found within section 70.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cwlth). Bribery distorts markets, artificially inflates prices, undermines democracy and leads to sub-standard products being procured.” (Click her to read more)
I wrote about this possibility in July 2011 in a post titled “Rupert Murdoch and News Corp guilty of breaching bribery laws in Australia” (Click here to read) The title of the post might have been a bit over the top but just over a week later I spoke to the Federal Police and asked them if they were investigating News Corporation for breaching Australian bribery laws. They issued a statement saying:
“The AFP is evaluating referrals to determine any jurisdictional issues or offences under Australian law.” (Click here to read more)
What the AFP ultimately did I do not know. I suspect they put it in the too hard basket. But with Rupert Murdoch about to be interviewed by British police and the possibility the company might be charged with criminal offences it is worth reviewing.
I wrote in the post in 2011:
“The reason that News Corp and its directors can be charged under Australian law is that News Corp was formerly incorporated in South Australia until a majority of shareholders approved a move on the 12th November 2004 to the US. The company was re-incorporated under Delaware General Corporation Law in the US not long after this. Rebekah Brooks made her admission while giving her evidence in the video below in March 2003.”
“It could be argued that even after the move to the US that News Corp and its directors are still accountable to Australian Laws as News Corp is dual listed. News Corporation is a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ, with secondary listings on the Australian Securities Exchange. So News Corp and its directors could also be liable for any bribes paid to the UK police after their move to the US as well.” (Click here to read more)
How did Rebekah Brooks get off?
Rupert Murdoch’s senior executive Rebekah Brooks was found not guilty yet another executive at the time Andy Coulson was found guilty of phone hacking in the last few days. (Click here to read more) A good article on thedrum.com explains how Rebekah Brooks got off phone hacking charges. (Click here to read) But I do not understand how she got off bribery charges unless she was not charged for that offence for some odd reason given the video below.
In the video Rebekah Brooks then known as Rebekah Wade openly admitted to paying police for information. This was in front of a British Parliament select committee in March, 2003. The person sitting beside her, Andy Coulson, interjected and quickly tried to cover it up. It must be noted that there is no way to pay the police within the law. It is bribery full stop. Andy Coulson was clearly lying.
Click anywhere on the above video to watch. It goes for only 29 seconds.
Where to from here who knows except that the phone hacking scandal fallout has a long way to go before it completed and it might be revisited again by authorities here in Australia.
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