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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there