Andy Coulson guilty in phone hacking trial: How hacking scandal punctured the puffed-up House of Murdoch

But has Rupert Murdoch got away with it? Many analysts in America think so

On balance, the hacking verdicts will have been greeted by Rupert Murdoch and his senior lieutenants with a degree of relief.

For the old media baron, there will have been personal delight at the acquittal of a woman he regards almost as another daughter. But spin doctors at News Corp were well aware that Rebekah Brooks was the figure in the dock most associated with its corporate culture and governance. Her being cleared limits the likelihood of further repercussions against the company in the US.

That has to be weighed against the embarrassment of the conviction of Andy Coulson, the former editor of what was once News Corp’s biggest-selling British paper, and the guilty pleas of some of his senior colleagues.

In a statement, News UK, the London-based subsidiary, was careful to sound contrite. “We said long ago, and repeat today, that wrongdoing occurred, and we apologised for it. We have been paying compensation to those affected and have co-operated with investigations,” it said.

Video: The long legal saga

Mr Murdoch has been officially informed that detectives want to interview him as a suspect as part of their inquiry into allegations of crime at his British newspaper, The Guardian reported.

It is all of marked contrast to the late summer of 2006, as officers from Scotland Yard prepared to make their first hacking arrests. Then the great media potentate was toying with British politicians, hinting at his future support for David Cameron and pointedly warning the Prime Minister-in-waiting, Gordon Brown, against calling a snap election. When the hacking scandal re-emerged in 2009, News International dismissed the affair as the work of a “rogue reporter”.

Read more:
Coulson found guilty as Brooks cleared of all charges
Hacking trial: David Cameron issues 'full and frank apology
The scandal that led to press' self-examination

It was only in February 2011, when it set up its management and standards commission – and began co-operating with the Yard’s newly formed Operation Weeting team, that the company seemed to be facing up to the scandal, even if its priority was to minimise civil payments to hacking victims.

The Milly Dowler revelations, which emerged that July, changed everything. Since that moment, the UK company has been seeking to cut ties with its past and re-establish itself as a business of the future. There has also been a concerted attempt to change the corporate culture – or at least convince the outside world of such a transformation.

The entrance “Gatehouse” became television’s stock shot of NI’s Wapping plant during the early years of the scandal. The Gatehouse no longer functions after NI moved to discreet modern offices nearby in 2011. Last year, the company rebranded as News UK, dropping its portcullis-style badge for an open logo inspired by the handwriting of Mr Murdoch and his late father, Keith. Later this year, News Corp hopes to complete this cleansing process by abandoning Wapping after 30 years and crossing the Thames to new premises at The Place, alongside the Shard skyscraper, where journalists will work alongside other News Corp businesses, including the publisher HarperCollins, giving a softer corporate focus.

Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch at an awards ceremony in 2008 – a remarkable friendship that started in 1995 Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch at an awards ceremony in 2008 – a remarkable friendship that started in 1995

Has Mr Murdoch got away with it? Many analysts in the US think so. The influential Business Week ran a cover story on him last year under the headline “The Escape Artist”. No Murdochs were arrested during this protracted scandal. The global empire has kept its US broadcasting licence and its 39 per cent stake in BSkyB, which is set to become a pan-European broadcaster. Rupert retains control of the seven-day Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times. Planet Murdoch is richer than ever and its founder remains in charge.

Video: Cameron's apology for employing Coulson

Hacking, for all the humiliation it caused Mr Murdoch in Britain, and for all its potential implications for his US business, never really crossed the Atlantic.

Read more:
How culture of News of the World's glory days led to its downfall
Coulson's future depends on privacy denied the hacking victims
Rebekah Brooks: How she became famous woman in British media
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'