Bloomberg News

James Murdoch Agreed Hacking Meeting Before ‘Nightmare’ E-Mail

December 20, 2011

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch, who said he wasn’t told in 2008 that phone hacking was widespread at the News of the World, agreed to more than one meeting at that time with the tabloid’s editor Colin Myler in advance of a settlement.

Myler asked for a meeting with Murdoch in May 2008, earlier than he initially revealed, according to an e-mail released by U.K. lawmakers today who are investigating how News Corp.’s British unit resolved phone-hacking cases. News Corp. spokeswoman Miranda Higham declined to comment.

Murdoch told lawmakers last month that the editor failed to tell him in 2008 that phone hacking at the now-defunct tabloid was common. Myler and the newspaper’s lawyer Tom Crone have repeatedly insisted that they discussed evidence with Murdoch. Crone said last week that Murdoch was aware of documents related to phone hacking by the time of the second meeting in June.

“I’m pretty sure I held up the front page of the e-mail,” Crone told an inquiry into press standards that was created in response to the phone-hacking scandal. “I’m also pretty sure that he already knew about it.”

On June 7, 2008, Murdoch had received an e-mail that described the “nightmare scenario” that phone hacking went beyond a single reporter at the News of the World tabloid, according to documents released last week. The e-mail from Myler was sent in advance of a meeting three days later where they discussed the settlement of a case brought by Gordon Taylor, chief executive officer of the Professional Footballers’ Association, whose phone was hacked.

Lost Data

Murdoch said last week that he reviewed the June 7 e-mail for two minutes on a Saturday when he was not in the office. He reiterated that he was not aware of evidence of widespread wrongdoing or the need for further investigation.

Revelations that the News of the World hacked into phones of celebrities, politicians and murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler led to the closing of the 168-year-old tabloid.

News Corp.’s investigations panel also said today that some electronic records from the British newspaper unit had been lost, according to the documents released by U.K. lawmakers. Linklaters LLP, the company’s lawyers, have hired PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Stroz Friedberg LLC to recover the lost data.

--Editors: Simon Thiel, Christopher Scinta

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at

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