Murdoch turns down bonus over hacking scandal

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The Independent Online

James Murdoch, the boss of News Corporation's UK arm, has refused to accept a $6m (£3.7m) bonus in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

The son of Rupert Murdoch was due to receive the bonus as part of a $17.9m (£11.1m) pay package for the year June 30, which was revealed in documents released yesterday.

But last night he said he would not accept the bonus "in light of the current controversy surrounding News of the World", which closed in the wake of the scandal.

He added: "While the financial and operating performance metrics on which the bonus decision was based are not associated with this matter, I feel that declining the bonus is the right thing to do.

"I will consult with the compensation committee in the future about whether any bonus may be appropriate at a later date."

James Murdoch is executive chairman of News International, News Corp's UK newspaper business, which owns The Sun and The Times, as well as deputy chief operating officer of News Corp.

Even without the bonus, his compensation will rise 16 per cent to $11.9m (£7.3m).

His father, News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch, saw his total pay packet rise 47 per cent to $33.3m (£20.5m) in the past year, the documents released before its annual meeting next month showed.

The executive chairman's pay was boosted by a $12.5m (£7.7m) bonus for the year, which he has not offered to forego.

News Corp was caught up in a phone hacking scandal during the financial year, which led to the closure of the tabloid. However, it was not until July that the scandal escalated into a full blown crisis.

Later that month, both Rupert and James Murdoch were grilled by the Treasury Select Committee when the News Corp founder said it was the most humble day of his life.

The report said Rupert Murdoch deserved his bonus because he had led the company through the economic downturn and positioned it for growth.

James Murdoch had played an important part in developing the company's key businesses in investments in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, it added.

News Corp reported an 8 per cent rise in profits to $2.7bn (£1.7bn) in the year.

The document also says that Elisabeth Murdoch - Rupert's daughter - receives a salary worth $1.7m (£1m) a year. She also received £131 million after Shine, the TV production company she runs which makes MasterChef, was bought by News Corporation earlier this year.

Lachlan Murdoch, another of Rupert's sons, who is acting chief executive of Australian TV company Ten Network, was compensated to the tune of $504,000 (£310,800).