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James Murdoch faces more questions -

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James Murdoch faces more questions

Rachael Brown reported this story on Saturday, July 23, 2011 08:18:00

ELIZABETH JACKSON: The British police are investigating new allegations, against News
International's chairman, James Murdoch.

James Murdoch told a parliamentary hearing this week, he wasn't aware of an email suggesting phone
hacking at the News of the World, had spread beyond one rogue reporter. But the tabloid's former
editor, and its head of legal affairs, say they did tell him about the email.

Here's Rachael Brown from London.

RACHAEL BROWN: James Murdoch was already accused of misleading parliament, over previous evidence
he's given about a compensation payment to a victim of phone-hacking, Gordon Taylor, a leading
figure in the football world.

Now Mr Murdoch's under more heat, over this answer he gave the Labour MP, Tom Watson, at Tuesday's
parliamentary grilling.

TOM WATSON: Did you see or were you made aware of the full Neville email, the transcript of the
hacked voicemail messages?

JAMES MURDOCH: No, I was not aware of that at the time.

RACHAEL BROWN: This so called 'transcript for Neville', is a transcript of Gordon Taylor's
voicemails, gathered by a private investigator, for, it's alleged, the News of the World
journalist, Neville Thurlbeck.

James Murdoch says he wasn't aware of this email. Not so says the tabloid's former editor Colin
Myler, and its former head of legal affairs, Tom Chrone, who say they told him about it.

Tom Watson again.

TOM WATSON: I think this is the most significant moment of two years of investigation into phone
hacking. If their statement is accurate, it shows that James Murdoch had knowledge that others were
involved in hacking as early as 2008. It shows that he failed to act to discipline staff or
initiate some internal investigation which undermines Rupert Murdoch's evidence to our committee
when he said that the company had a zero tolerance or wrongdoing.

But more importantly, it shows that he failed not only to report the crime to the police but
because there was a confidentiality clause involved with the settlement, it means that he bought
the silence of Gordon Taylor and that could mean he's facing an investigation for perverting the
course of justice.

RACHAEL BROWN: The culture committee reportedly gave James Murdoch the chance to retract parts of
his statement. The committee's Damien Collins.

DAMIEN COLLINS: It's quite a serious allegation to suggest that James Murdoch may have mislead a
committee of parliament, that's why I think it's important that he clarifies the situation and
clarifies his remarks in light of what's been alleged.

RACHAEL BROWN: But James Murdoch is standing by his testimony. The prime minister, David Cameron,
says James Murdoch clearly has questions to answer in Parliament.

DAVID CAMERON: And I'm sure he will do that, clearly News International has big issues to deal with
and a mess to clear up. That has to be done by the management of that company. In the end the
management of a company must be an issue for the shareholders of that company but the government
wants to see this sorted out.

RACHAEL BROWN: While the metropolitan police investigates the claim, the nonexecutive directors of
News Corporation have been asked to suspend both James and Rupert Murdoch.

The Labour MP, Chris Bryant, has written to them, citing three matters of concern. First, the
conjecture about James Murdoch's knowledge of the "Neville" email, second, his authorisation of a
quote "excessive" compensation payment, and third, what Mr Bryant describes as Rupert Murdoch's
"lackadaisical approach" to alleged criminality at the company.

This is Rachael Brown in London, reporting for Saturday AM.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: 25.7.11 This transcript has been amended to correctly refer to James Murdoch as
chairman of News International and remove an inaccurate reference to the nature of the allegation.