US & Canada

News Corp probe dropped by US justice department

Rupert Murdoch listens at the Times CEO Summit at the Savoy in London.
Image caption Rupert Murdoch controls both News Corp and its sister company Twenty-First Century Fox

Rupert Murdoch's company News Corp will not be prosecuted in the US over the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed the media giant 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.

But the US Department of Justice said on Monday it was not pursuing charges and was closing its investigation.

The tabloid newspaper at the centre of the scandal was closed down in 2011.

And 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.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in New York says that the FBI had trawled through thousands of emails on News Corp servers, looking for evidence of any possible violations of US law.

Image caption Rupert Murdoch told British MPs he had been 'humbled' by the scandal

On Monday, a statement from the department of justice said 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.

'Disappointing'

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.

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