Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation are heading for another major scandal regarding bribing government officials and this time it is in Australia and involves NSW Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen.
Murdoch’s News Corp has a long history of bribing government employees for stories. This was exposed by the UK phone-hacking scandal which also revealed the bribing of UK police and other officials.
The Australian bribery scandal is being exposed as the UK phone-hacking scandal, which has run for about 4 years, is coming to a close although some of the victims are demanding it continues.
News Corp UK phone-hacking crimes – Also paid police for stories
“Several former News of the World executives were put on trial for hacking, and one former editor, Andy Coulson, was found guilty as was Glenn Mulcaire, a specialist hacker placed on a regular retainer by the tabloid. But another former editor, Rebekah Brooks, was acquitted, and she has since been reinstalled as chief executive of News UK.” (Click here to read more)
Below is a video of News Corp executive Rebekah Brooks admitting paying police for stories which is a crime. So the question has to be asked has News Corp also been paying Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen for stories which is also a crime? What has motivated Margaret Cunneen to commit the crime?
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.
The video is from a previous article I wrote in June 2014 titled “Will Rupert Murdoch and News Corp face charges for breaching Australian International Bribery laws?” which is of relevance again now given the Margaret Cunneen revelations.
Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) v Margaret Cunneen – Operation Hale
Last year, after an investigation ICAC named Operation Hale, ICAC tried to have a public hearing into allegations that Margaret Cunneen had acted in a criminal manner and Margaret Cunneen took legal action and stopped the public hearings. It was reported in the SMH:
“Cunneen was accused of advising her son’s girlfriend to fake chest pains to avoid a breath test after a car accident. The high court ruled that ICAC did not have the power to investigate the allegations because they did not fit the definition of “corrupt conduct” in the legislation establishing ICAC’s scope.” (Click here to read more)
The evidence was then handed to the DPP and eventually swept under the carpet by the NSW Solicitor-General Michael Sexton SC. (Click here to read more)
That probably would have been the end of it but there has been a massive push by Margaret Cunneen, her supporters in the legal fraternity and News Corp to have ICAC Commissioner Megan Latham removed.
One of Cunneen’s biggest supporters has been ICAC Inspector David Levine who has oversight of ICAC. Last week Mr Levine handed down a report which seemed to shoot everyone in the foot except it’s intended targets of Megan Latham and ICAC.
The biggest story in the report has been the fact that Margaret Cunneen has been abusing her position as a Crown Prosecutor and illegally leaking stories to the media. The media have by and large ignored it or only mentioned it to a minor degree.
I have written about the ICAC/Cunneen matter in 4 other posts which are worth reading for a background to this story. In December 2014 (Click here), April 2015 (Click here), May 21st 2015 (Click here) and May 27th 2015 (Click here).
ICAC Inspector David Levine’s report
Levine’s report is openly biased in favour of Cunneen but who cares as it is also extremely explosive because of what it says regarding journalists and Cunneen’s leaking to them. Levine’s best days are obviously behind him because he has helped destroy his friend Cunneen.
It is a criminal offence for a prosecutor to leak information about a trial to anyone including journalists.
The report refers to a disc of material labelled “Operation Hale – e14/1466 Journalist Disclosures – exhibits”
The report says on page 48 “This disc contains 2,274 pages of material constituted by SMS and other mediums extracted from Ms Cunneen’s telephone made up of a “Full Report” and eight extract reports in relation to named journalists.” (Click here to read the full report)
The named journalists would be extremely worried about being named and are clearly the ones (or their friends) who are attacking ICAC and Commissioner Margaret Latham.
News Corps The Daily Telegraph says: “Those communications were between Ms Cunneen and senior Daily Telegraph reporter Janet Fife-Yeomans, and between Ms Cunneen and Channel 7 news director Jason Morrison.” (Click here to read more)
I wonder how many other names The Daily Telegraph has deliberately left out. Jason Morrison is only new at Kerry Stokes’ Channel 7 but 7 have been vocal supporters of Margaret Cunneen and they have done exclusive interviews with her recently which suggests she has been leaking to 7 as well.
I suspect there are more journalists than just 2 as Cunneen gets a lot of favourable coverage from numerous News Corp journalists. The police should be asking how many senior managers at New Corp knew that Janet Fife-Yeomans and others were getting tips from Margaret Cunneen and did they pay Cunneen?
A bribe doesn’t have to be money. It can be anything such as favourable media reports which Cunneen has received over the years and especially recently when the media should have ended her career given her corrupt conduct but certain journalists have spread lies on her behalf in an attempt to support her. The journalists are paying Cunneen for her leaked stories with favourable media reports which would constitute a bribe although cash being paid to Cunneen is also is a strong possibility given News Corp paid UK police.
News Corp’s Sydney Bunker
The key journalist at News Corp who is driving the attack on ICAC and Latham is The Australian’s Legal Affairs Editor Chris Merritt.
Mr Merritt has been the everywhere man attacking ICAC. In April Mr Merritt joined Alan Jones to attack ICAC.
Alan Jones and Chris Merritt on 2GB Monday April 20, 2015 (Click on the audio below to listen)
Alan Jones interviewed The Australian newspaper’s Legal Affairs editor Chris Merritt a couple of days after the High Court handed down it’s judgment in the Margaret Cunneen / ICAC matter.
They went hard attacking ICAC and defending Margaret Cunneen. In the tape you will hear Alan Jones refer to journalist Janet Fife-Yeomans as a source who we now know is one of the beneficiaries from Margaret Cunneen’s leaks.
Lies by Margaret Cunneen which the media help spread
Margaret Cunneen has told a lot of lies about what did and did happen and many of those lies have been exposed in recent days. The biggest lie is that Margaret Cunneen says she has fought so hard this time because it involves her family and she was trying to protect them.
We know this is lie because Ms Cunneen tried to blame her sister for complaining to ICAC and initiating the investigation. The reality is that the Australian Crime Commission referred evidence to ICAC which sparked the Operation Hale investigation into Cunneen.
Margaret Cunneen has never apologised to her sister nor have the journalists that know about it and they still ignore it when defending Cunneen.
This has caused Margaret’s sister Caroline Cunneen so much distress she wrote to ICAC as per the below letter:
Only the tip of the iceberg
What the evidence from Cunneen’s mobile phone does not show is other times that Margaret Cunneen has tipped off journalists and what other journalists have been beneficiaries to Margaret Cunneen’s inside information.
Two of the obvious people are 2GB’s Alan Jones and Ray Hadley who have been big supporters of Cunneen.
News Corp journalists have been very busy over the last few months demanding an inquiry into who has been leaking information from ICAC to Fairfax journalist Kate McClymont. I agree that we should have an inquiry and include Margaret Cunneen’s leaks to journalists. I wonder how keen News Corp journalists will be on that idea.
The story is not going away anytime soon although News Corp journalists and others are working overtime to try to make sure it does. But it’s too late as the cat out of the bag now and we have former Supreme Court judge David Levine to thank for that.
Please use the Twitter, Facebook and email etc. buttons below and help promote this post.
This website is independent and reliant on donations to keep publishing. If you would like to support the continuance of this site please click on the button below to donate via PayPal or go to the donations page for other donation options. (Click here to go to the Donations page)
If you would like to follow this website you can by email notification which is at the top right of this page and about twice a week you will be notified when there is a new article.
Thank you for your support.