Lawyer: I knew MPs were misled by James Murdoch

NI's European chief held more than one meeting about phone hacking, it is claimed

Already under threat of a mini-revolution when his company's shareholders meet in Los Angeles tomorrow, News Corp's European boss, James Murdoch, is facing fresh allegations in Westminster that he misled MPs.

Pressure on Mr Murdoch to defend the account he gave to Parliament this summer about how much he knew about phone-hacking inside News International (NI) significantly increased after it was revealed yesterday that he held more than one meeting with senior NI executives following the discovery of a crucial email revealing that voicemail interceptions at the News of the World went beyond one reporter.

Julian Pike, a partner with Farrer & Co, until last week NI's lawyers in civil damages claims, accused Mr Murdoch of "misrepresenting" events.

In previous accounts given to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, and in later written testimony, the heir-apparent to the Murdoch empire denied he had any knowledge of a key piece of evidence that led to NI agreeing a £725,000 out-of-court settlement for Gordon Taylor.

He has stated previously that the first meeting he attended which discussed the Taylor case was on 10 June 2008. Mr Pike's testimony challenges him to explain why he made no mention of an earlier meeting held on 27 May with the then editor of the NOTW, Colin Myler.

His account of the key June meeting also conflicts with versions given by News International's former legal boss, Tom Crone, and Mr Myler. Both claim that during the 15-minute June meeting they discussed the use of phone-hacking going beyond a rogue reporter – former royal correspondent Clive Goodman – and that this was the reason they were asking Mr Murdoch to approve the massive pay-out.

Mr Pike told the committee he had been copied into a briefing note specifically prepared for Mr Myler by Mr Crone, three days before the NOTW editor was due to meet Mr Murdoch on 27 May. The note contained an update of the Taylor case.

Although it did not specifically mention "For Neville" – understood to refer to the NOTW reporter, Neville Thurlbeck – according to Mr Pike, it revealed that the practice of illegal interceptions had spread beyond Goodman.

The Farrer lawyer said it had become apparent from Mr Taylor's claim against NI that three NOTW journalists had been involved in what he called "illegally accessing information in order to obtain stories". He said he would "take instruction" over whether he could hand over the briefing note to the committee.

Watson to alert shareholders at meeting in US

Tom Watson, the Labour backbencher and scourge of the Murdoch family, will fly to Los Angeles to confront the dynastic bosses at News Corporation's annual meeting tomorrow.

Mr Watson said he had acquired a "proxy shareholder vote" in the parent company of News International, publisher of the defunct 'News of the World', and would address what is expected to be a fractious meeting of shareholders about "the things their company is doing in the UK".

Meanwhile, in LA, News Corp officials are putting the finishing touches to their plans for the meeting, which is being mounted with unprecedented security. In the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and calls to strip the Murdochs of their boardroom roles, News Corp decided to shift the meeting to the West Coast, away from Wall Street where many key investors are based.

For the first time, shareholders were told to pre-order tickets for the event. They will also have to take a company shuttle bus to the Zanuck screening theatre where the meeting will be held.

Stephen Foley

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones