The Murdoch team awaiting ordeal by inquiry

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The Independent Online

The announcement of a public inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal raises the prospect of Rupert Murdoch's most senior News International lieutenants – and the News Corp boss himself – being forced to defend their conduct. So what were their respective roles in the scandal that brought down a 168-year-old newspaper?

Rupert Murdoch

Chairman and Chief Executive, News Corp (1979–)

The 80-year-old is a hands-on newspaper proprietor, speaking daily to his editors. He has a history of political manipulation and muck-raking. Did he know about, condone or approve phone hacking – or organise or authorise the cover-up once the illegality was discovered? There is no evidence of either so far. There is no paper or electronic trail.

Andy Coulson

Editor, News of the World (2003-2007)

Deputy Editor, News of the World (2000-2003)

Under his editorship, the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire hacked the phones of almost 4,000 people. Scotland Yard is investigating whether Coulson approved, ordered or authorised the hacking. According to emails passed to police by News International last month, he may have authorised payment of bribes to police officers. He denies any wrongdoing.

Rebekah Brooks

Chief Executive, News International (2009-)

Editor, News of the World (2000-2003)

Editor, The Sun (2003-08)

She was editing the News of the World in March 2002 when it hacked into the phone of the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler and deleted messages, giving the Dowler family false hope she was still alive. A year later, in March 2003, she told MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: "We have paid the police for information in the past". (She later claimed she had no knowledge of News International payments to police, but was speaking generally about Fleet Street papers). She has been leading News International's response to the scandal and may be questioned by police about her role in the cover-up.

Les Hinton

Chief Executive, Dow Jones (2007–)

Executive Chairman, News International (1995-2007)

He authorised payments from News International to Mr Mulcaire and Clive Goodman, the News of the World's Royal editor, after they were sent to prison for phone hacking but told a Commons committee that this was not to silence them. He said it was as a result of legal advice he had received. He was also in overall charge of the first internal investigation into phone hacking. He told the committee that he was "happy" that he had asked "all the questions" that needed to be asked of Tom Crone, the chief News of the World lawyer, and Colin Myler, who carried it out. "Andy and Tom and then Colin Myler were the trilogy of investigators and I think they worked very hard to see if there was any tangible evidence that they could act upon. There was none," he told the committee.

James Murdoch

Chief Executive, News Corp Europe and Asia (2007-)

He was in charge of News International when its most senior executives were accused by MPs of "collective amnesia" when they gave evidence to the DCMS select committee about phone hacking. He authorised the secret £500,000 settlement to Gordon Taylor, but did not tell the police. This week he said he had been badly advised about the settlement. "That's a matter or real regret for me personally," he said.

Stuart Kuttner

Managing Editor, News of the World (1987–2009)

A central figure at the News of the World, he is believed to have signed off the £100,000-a-year "research and information services" with Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator convicted of phone hacking in 2007.

He left the paper in July 2009, the day before the disclosure of the secret £500,000 hush deal with Gordon Taylor. He said: "The News of the World's incomparable team of journalists reflect Fleet Street at its finest."

Tom Crone

Legal Manager, News International (From circa 1981-2011)

He was responsible for supervising the investigation carried out by the solicitors Burton Copeland – who investigated the allegations of hacking on behalf of the company. He said to MPs in 2009: "They were given absolutely free range to ask whatever they wanted to ask.

"They did risk accounts and they have got four lever-arch files of payment records, everything to do with Mulcaire, and there is no evidence of anything going beyond in terms of knowledge into other activities."

Neil Wallis

Deputy Editor, News of the World (2003-07)

Executive Editor, News of the World (2007-09)

As Mr Coulson's right-hand man, he was central to the paper's operations while Mr Mulcaire was hacking into the voicemails of thousands of people, some of whose stories then appeared in the News of the World. He was friendly with several senior Metropolitan Police officers and hosted dinners with them, Scotland Yard disclosed earlier this year. Mr Wallis, who has since joined a PR organisation, has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

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