US widens probe into Murdoch's News Corp


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The Independent Online

The US authorities have widened their probe into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to examine allegations of wrongdoing at the company beyond the claim that News of the World journalists tried to hack the phones of 9/11 victims.

It was reported this weekend that FBI investigators, who are checking claims that NOTW reporters asked a New York private detective to access the voicemails of those killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks, have found no hard evidence that attempts were made to eavesdrop on the messages.

The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp, said US agencies were now examining whether there were further claims of misconduct at the company's American subsidiaries that merit any further investigation.

The move comes as British MPs prepare to consider tomorrow the release of new documents related to hacking, which an ex-minister has described as "dynamite".

The widened US inquiry, described as being at "an early stage", will probe past claims against News Corp companies, including a lawsuit brought by Floorgraphics, a small advertising company, alleging computer hacking that led to its Murdoch-owned competitor settling for $29.5m (£18m) back in 2009.

News Corp is now facing questions about its US operations, including the 9/11 phone-hacking claims and queries about whether American corruption laws would have been broken if it is proven that any NOTW journalists made corrupt payments to serving British police officers.

The Commons media select committee meets tomorrow to discuss recalling James Murdoch over his testimony on phone hacking.