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.
Rupert Murdoch has appointed his sons Lachlan and James to top roles at his media and entertainment empire News Corp and 21st Century Fox.
Lachlan Murdoch returns to the Murdoch empire as co-chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, having previously stood back to focus on his own businesses.
Meanwhile, younger son James Murdoch was appointed co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox.
After the phone hacking scandal, James Murdoch quit as executive chairman of News International in 2012.
Rupert Murdoch has appointed his sons Lachlan and James to top roles at News Corp and 21st Century Fox (photo Getty Images)
News Corp is one of the world’s biggest media organizations, and owns newspaper titles The Times, Sun, and the Wall Street Journal.
News Corp split from 21st Century Fox in 2013. The business owns broadcaster Fox News in the US and British Sky Broadcasting in the UK.
Rupert Murdoch, who went through a high-profile split with wife Wendi Deng last year, said Lachlan was a “talented executive” with a “rich” knowledge of the business.
Lachlan Murdoch will report to Chase Carey, chief executive at 21st Century Fox.
Rupert Murdoch said: “I am very pleased he is returning to a leadership role at the company, where he will look closely with me, Chase, James and rest of the board of directors to drive continued growth for years to come.”
He also said he was “pleased” to promote James into the “important role”.
There is reportedly no new role for Rupert Murdoch’ third sibling, Elisabeth.
Eunice Huthart, former Hollywood stunt double, has sued News Corp, accusing the company of hacking into her phone.
The suit, the first such claim from the US, was filed by the former double for Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.
In the suit, the Liverpool resident alleges messages from family, friends and Angelina Jolie were intercepted and in some cases deleted.
News Corp did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a civil complaint filed on June 13, Eunice Huthart seeks damages for violations of federal and California laws and “intrusion into private affairs”.
According to IMDb, Eunice Huthart worked as Angelina Jolie’s stunt double on the films Wanted, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Eunice Huthart, who worked as Angelina Jolie’s stunt double, sues News Corp over phone hacking
In the court filing, she describes herself as a close friend of Angelina Jolie, and says the pair “often travelled and socialized together”.
Eunice Huthart said that in 2004-05, some friends and relatives complained she had not returned their phone calls, and she in turn complained to her mobile phone provider that voice messages were being lost in their system.
She said Angelina Jolie left messages concerning travel arrangements and other plans, which Eunice Huthart never received.
She added that her daughter left messages complaining about bullying in school in Liverpool, which she also never received – rendering her unable to console her daughter.
Eunice Huthart said her husband had also criticized her for not responding to his messages.
She says her name, telephone number and other private information appeared in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who worked for the News of the World and was jailed in January 2007 for unlawfully intercepting voicemail messages received by royal aides.
Eunice Huthart “believes that they were hacking her cellular telephone as a means to obtain information about Ms Jolie”, says the court filing.
According to the suit, The Sun newspaper published several news stories based on information illicitly obtained from Eunice Huthart’s mobile phone messages.
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