Despite London acquittals, U.S. probe of News Corp continues

Thu Jun 26, 2014 5:52pm EDT
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By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than a year after asking for and receiving emails from News Corp's (NWSA.O: Quote) U.S. operation related to allegations of phone hacking and bribery, the FBI is still investigating whether British-based representatives of the media company may have broken U.S. law, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The FBI probe into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has not ended even though some former senior Murdoch aides were acquitted of charges by a British criminal court jury, the sources said.

A law enforcement source and a second source familiar with the matter said the FBI is probing whether News Corp businesses or representatives may have violated U.S. laws, most notably the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids U.S.-based companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials.

News Corp is headquartered in New York City.

The company confirmed on Thursday that its lawyers turned over more than 80,000 emails extracted from U.S.-based servers to U.S. Justice Department investigators more than a year ago.

Sources said the emails were turned over via Williams and Connolly, a prominent Washington D.C. law firm which the company had hired to help it deal with fallout, including possible U.S. investigations, from British investigations into alleged phone hacking and payments to U.K. government officials by representatives of News Corp's London-based newspapers.

Asked about the turnover of emails, a News Corp executive told Reuters: "We voluntarily produced material to the Department of Justice more than a year ago and we understand that material was fully available to the authorities in the UK well before the (recently ended) trial."

The executive declined to be named.   Continued...

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks places her hand on her heart as she makes a statement to the media alongside her husband Charlie in London June 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor