Lawyers to Start News Corp Case in US: Report
Associate Editor, CNBC
British lawyers acting for victims of phone hacking by The News of the World are planning to launch legal action in the U.S. against directors of the newspaper's parent company News Corp, according to a report on British satellite news channel Sky News.
The case the lawyers intend to bring will claim some of the allegations about what went on at the now-defunct newspaper broke not only British law, but potentially American law too, Sky News added.
Barrister Mark Lewis, who has been acting for family of murdered teenager Millie Dowler in the U.K., told Sky News the action "will raise issues about the role of a parent company over its subsidiaries."
Lewis will use the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in order to launch an investigation into the knowledge News Corp directors had of the phone hacking scandal and payments to police offices in the U.K., by News of the World journalists.
“I have been in discussion with American lawyers in New York to bring action against News Corporation or pre-action to seek depositions from individuals to see what they knew or what they were aware of," he said.
Lewis added: "As I understand it, the position in America is although jurisdictionally they could only be responsible for America in normal torts where it involves corruption or corrupt practices of payments to police officers or possible phone hacking, it goes further than that, so they will be looking at News Corp’s liability for actions by its foreign subsidiaries.”
The move is a significant one for the Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp and his son James Murdoch, both of whom appeared in front of a parliamentary select committee investigating the phone hacking scandal in July. James Murdoch is to be recalled to the answer further questions from members of parliament over inconsistencies in the evidence he presented to the committee in July.
Lewis added that he was sure the investigation would "raise issues of corporate governance and control by a parent company."
He added: "I'm sure there are other directors and shareholders that will be looking at effectively the family ownership and the family control of a company and as to whether Rupert Murdoch should have the level of control over a company or the level of influence that he has enjoyed within the company but that's an internal matter for the company rather than for me."