The former Dow Jones CEO, current New York Daily News editor and ex News International legal manager mislead the UK parliament in a phone hacking “cover-up”, a report from a committee of 10 cross-party parliamentarians concluded.
The report stopped short of accusing Rupert or James Murdoch of mis-leading the committee but accused the father of “turning a blind eye” to News Of The World’s phone hacking and the son of “astonishing” lack of curiosity in investigating it.
Here are the key players and what the report concluded about each:
Ex-News International executive chairman. Ex-Dow Jones CEO (resigned, July 2011). Friend of Rupert Murdoch for 50+ years.
- “Les Hinton misled the Committee in 2009 regarding the extent of the pay-off to Clive Goodman and his own role in making it happen.”
- “Les Hinton was complicit in the cover-up at News International, which included making misleading statements and giving a misleading picture to this Committee.”
- “Les Hinton’s unwillingness to be explicit over the payment of legal fees was a deliberate effort to mislead the Committee over News International’s payments to Clive Goodman after he was charged and convicted.”
Crone: News Of The World’s ex-legal manager
Myler: News Of The World’s ex-editor (currently New York Daily News editor)
- “Both Tom Crone and Colin Myler deliberately avoided disclosing crucial information to the Committee and, when asked to do, answered questions falsely.”
- “Both Tom Crone and Colin Myler attempted to downplay the significance of the ‘for Neville’ e-mail and made no mention of the legal opinion that they had obtained (which suggested hacking was wider-spread). In itself this amounts to an attempt to mislead the Committee about the import of a crucial piece of evidence and the failure of the company to act upon it.
- “In 2009, Tom Crone and Colin Myler asserted that they had investigated the ‘for Neville’ e-mail and that there was no concrete evidence to support the allegation that journalists other than Clive Goodman had been involved in phone-hacking … They clearly did not tell truth to us then.”
Ex-News International executive chairman
- “Surprising as it may seem that James Murdoch did not ask to see this crucial piece of evidence, nor the independent Counsel’s opinion, his lack of curiosity—but wilful ignorance even—subsequently is more astonishing.”
- “We are astonished that James Murdoch did not seek more information or ask to see the evidence and counsel’s opinion when he was briefed by Tom Crone and Colin Myler on the Gordon Taylor case. Even for a large company, £700,000 is a not inconsequential sum of money, and it is extraordinary that the Chief Executive should authorise its payment on the basis of such scant information. If he did, indeed, not ask to see either document, particularly the counsel’s opinion, this clearly raises questions of competence on the part of News International’s then Chairman and Chief Executive.”
- “If he did not read the e-mail chain, there is no good excuse for this and it betrays an astonishing lack of curiosity on the part of a Chief Executive.”
- “It was as late as December 2010 that James Murdoch—and Rupert Murdoch—realised that the one ‘rogue reporter’ line was untrue. This, we consider, to be simply astonishing.”
CEO and chairman, News Corp
- “Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications.”
- “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”
- “Rupert Murdoch told this Committee that his alleged lack of oversight of News International and the News of the World was due to it being “less than 1% of our company”. This self-portrayal, however, as a hands-off proprietor is entirely at odds with numerous other accounts, including those of previous editors and from Rebekah Brooks, who told us she spoke to Rupert Murdoch regularly and ‘on average, every other day’. It was, indeed, we consider, a misleading account of his involvement and influence with his newspapers.”
Ex-editor, The Sun & ex-CEO, News International
- “None of these scenarios casts Rebekah Brooks … in a positive light: either they should have been more frank or else they should have been better informed.”
- “For those actions, and the culture which permitted them, the Editor should accept responsibility.”
- The company “wished to buy silence in this affair and to pay to make this problem go away”.
- “News International repeatedly made misleading and exaggerated claims regarding the ‘investigations’ it had purportedly commissioned following the arrests of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire.”
- “Senior executives at News International undoubtedly extolled the thoroughness of the reviews rather too fervently.”
- “Evidence given by News International executives (until August 2011) had been vague and at times incomplete.”
- “The whole affair demonstrates huge failings of corporate governance at the company and its parent, News Corporation.”