Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp will not be prosecuted in the US over the phone-hacking scandal in the UK.
US officials were looking into whether alleged payments to British police by journalists meant that News Corp, a US company, broke anti-corruption laws.
The US Department of Justice said on February 2 it was not pursuing charges and was closing its investigation.
The tabloid newspaper at the centre of the scandal was closed down in 2011.
Several News of the World journalists have been prosecuted in the UK, after being accused of hacking phones and paying public officials in return for exclusive stories.
Reporters gained access to the phone of missing British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who had been murdered.
Photo Getty Images
The FBI had trawled through thousands of emails on News Corp servers, looking for evidence of any possible violations of US law.
The DOJ said in a statement on February 2 that it was ending its “investigation into News Corp regarding possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act concerning bribes allegedly paid for news leads”.
It reserved the right to reopen the inquiry if new information came to light, it said.
News Corp said it had been notified and welcomed the news.
“We are grateful that this matter has been concluded and acknowledge the fairness and professionalism of the justice department throughout this investigation,” said Gerson Zweifach, general counsel of News Corp.
A lawyer acting on behalf of a group of relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks, who suspect that their phones were hacked, said that it was “very disappointing” that the investigation had ended.
Rupert Murdoch controls both News Corp and its sister company Twenty-First Century Fox, which split into separate businesses in 2013.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has paid the US government $60 million to settle charges alleging it paid millions of dollars in bribes to build its business in Europe and China.
Employees made the payoffs to secure sales contracts for Pfizer products, according to court filings.
Healthcare officials “improperly rewarded”, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.
The US drugs giant does not admit any guilt.
“Pfizer subsidiaries in several countries had bribery so entwined in their sales culture that they offered points and bonus programs to improperly reward foreign officials who proved to be their best customers,” said Kara Brockmeyer, chief of the SEC’s foreign enforcement division, which made the allegations.
Pfizer has paid the US government $60 million to settle charges alleging it paid millions of dollars in bribes to build its business in Europe and China
The countries involved are Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Serbia.
However, the SEC said Pfizer officials had not been aware of the payments, and that its good co-operation over the charges meant there was no need for criminal prosecution.
Pfizer first disclosed the misconduct to SEC and Justice Department officials in October 2004, and cooperated with the government’s investigation.
The charges against Pfizer were brought under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars publicly traded companies from bribing officials in other countries to get or retain business.
In the past five years, the Justice Department has investigated a number of pharmaceutical and medical device companies that operate overseas in connection with the law.
Last year, Johnson and Johnson agreed to pay $70 million to settle civil and criminal charges of bribery brought by the Department of Justice.