Scotland Yard to interview Rupert Murdoch as part of crime probe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 11:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 8:18am


Rupert Murdoch has been officially informed by Scotland Yard that detectives want to interview him as a suspect as part of their inquiry into allegations of crime at his British newspapers.

Detectives reportedly first contacted Murdoch (pictured) last year to arrange to question him, but agreed to a request from his lawyers to wait until the phone-hacking trial was finished.

The interview is expected to take place in the near future in Britain and be conducted "under caution", the warning given to suspects. Murdoch's son James, who was the executive chairman of News International in Britain, might also be questioned.

News of the police move comes after a jury at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London found Murdoch's former News of the World editor Andy Coulson guilty of conspiring to hack phones, but acquitted his former British chief executive Rebekah Brooks on all charges.

The verdict on Coulson means that Murdoch's British company is now threatened with a corporate charge, while the media owner also faces the prospect of a dozen more criminal trials involving his journalists as well as hundreds more legal actions in the high court from the alleged victims of phone hacking by the News of the World.

Such a prosecution can occur only if the "controlling minds" of the company are found to be guilty of a crime. Following Tuesday's verdicts, the police are expected to submit a new file of evidence to the prosecution.

If the former British company were convicted of conspiring to intercept communications, the members of its board of directors - including Rupert and James Murdoch - could then be prosecuted personally.

Rupert Murdoch already faces a volley of threats in British criminal and civil courts.

Eleven more trials are due to take place at the Old Bailey involving a total of 20 current or former journalists from The Sun and News of the World, who are accused variously of making illegal payments to public officials, conspiring to intercept voicemail and accessing data on stolen mobile phones.

In Scotland, Coulson and two other News of the World journalists face trials on charges of perjury, phone hacking and breach of data-protection laws.

Eleven other current or former Murdoch employees are waiting to discover whether they will be prosecuted in the scandal.