News International faces FBI phone hacking probe


News Corp’s News International unit is facing an FBI investigation into phone hacking in the US after News International admitted intercepting voicemails of Jude Law, the actor, while it is thought he was in the US. Law, Law’s former wife Sadie Frost and politicians John Prescott and Chris Bryant settled with News Corp. 1/19. In announcing the settlements, however, victims’ lawyers said that News Corp. had made more sweeping admissions to wrongdoing than it had in the past. A statement issued 1/19 by some of the lawyers representing the victims said that “News Group has agreed to compensation being assessed on the basis that senior employees and directors of (News Group Newspapers) knew about the wrongdoing and sought to conceal it by deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence.”

One of the articles News International accepted had come from phone hacking was a 2003 story in the News of the World which referred to telephone calls Law’s assistant Ben Jackson had made to him when he arrived at an airport.

It is believed the airport was JFK in New York. News International’s admission has led the US authorities to investigate whether a crime took place on American soil, reported the UK Telegraph.

It is thought the possibility that Law’s phone was using an American network at the time could lead to offences having been committed under US law.

The FBI has confirmed that it is looking into the allegations. An FBI spokesman told the paper: “We aware of the allegations of surrounding this matter and are looking into it.”

The spokesman refused to confirm whether Law has already been interviewed over the matter. Law’s agent Sara Keene also refused to comment.

An article published September 7, 2003 in the News of The World refers to calls made by Jackson to Law shortly after he arrived at New York’s JFK airport.

RBR-TVBR observation: As we’ve said before, there has been some discussion how the problems of News Corp. might have an impact upon its FCC licenses here in the states if the company is found guilty of criminal offenses in the UK and/or in the U.S.