The News Corp Deputy COO, and son of CEO Rupert Murdoch, is holding fast to his position that others are to blame for the News Of The World hacking scandal — as well as his company’s effort to downplay the extent of the lawbreaking when executives testified to Parliament about the matter in 2009. “It would have been better if I had not relied on the people who had assured me that thorough investigations had been carried out and that further investigations were unnecessary,” he said in a seven-page defense sent Monday to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Murdoch sent the letter, released today, as committee members prepare to decide whether he and other News International executives misled Parliament in 2009 when they said that phone hacking was limited to one rogue reporter. Murdoch acknowledges that “it would have been better if I had asked more questions, requested more documents and scrutinised them carefully.” But he still points the finger at other execs, especially former legal adviser Tom Crone and former NOTW editor Colin Myler who told Parliament that they warned Murdoch that the scandal was bigger than he had publicly acknowledged. Their testimony “displays inconsistencies on this subject, while my evidence has always been consistent,” Murdoch writes. Before taking charge of the UK print unit in late 2007 he “did not follow the details” of earlier arrests. Even afterward he was “never intimately involved with the workings of News Of The World, or any of the other newspapers within News International” in the belief that “a newsroom should be run by the editor.”
Murdoch also told the committee not to read anything in his recent resignation from News International. He left, he says, because he moved to New York to focus on the parent company’s television businesses following “the successful launch of a Sunday edition of The Sun and significant progress and governance reforms at News International.” Although he recognizes that some believe it’s a tacit admission that he tried to cover up phone hacking, he says “This is untrue. I take my share of responsibility for not uncovering wrongdoing earlier. However, I have not misled Parliament. I did not know about, nor did I try to hide, wrongdoing. I do not believe the evidence before you supports any other conclulsion.”
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