News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch agreed to testify before Parliament a second time as London police sought a newly uncovered recording of him discussing probes of bribery and phone-hacking at company newspapers.
Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport committee said Tuesday it would write to the 82-yer-old Murdoch, asking him to give evidence about the scandals again. Lawmakers asked for Murdoch’s recall after a transcript of the tape, in which Murdoch told reporters at the Sun newspaper that bribery had been a routine practice, was published last week.
Police have made more than 100 arrests, including former News Corp. journalists and staff, in probes of wrongdoing at the company’s British publications triggered by the discovery two years ago that the now-defunct News of the World listened to messages on the mobile phone of a teenager who had been killed.
Exaro News, based in London, said Wednesday it was preparing to hand over 23 minutes of audio recordings of Murdoch in the meeting, which they’ve already published online.
“I don’t know why they would bring Murdoch in again unless it’s to treat him like a school boy and give him another slap on the wrist,” said Alex DeGroote, a media analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co. in London.
News Corp. said last week that it would be “absolutely false” to suggest Murdoch knew of payments to police.
But in one section of the transcript published last week, Murdoch tells his staff, some of whom have been arrested in the bribery probe: “payments for news tips from cops: that’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn’t instigate it.”
He said one of the first things he saw when he bought the News of the World tabloid in 1969 was a safe full of money that he was told was for bribes.