Scotland Yard to interview Rupert Murdoch: Report

Last Updated 25 June 2014, 12:55 IST

Scotland Yard detectives have told media mogul Rupert Murdoch that he will be interviewed as a suspect over crimes, including phone-hacking by journalists, at his British newspapers, a media report said today.

According to the Guardian, the interview is expected to take place in the near future in the UK and will be conducted "under caution", the legal warning given to suspects.
Murdoch's son James, who was the executive chairman of News International in the UK, may also be questioned.

The newspaper report claims that detectives first contacted 83-year-old Murdoch last year to arrange to question him but agreed to a request from his lawyers to wait until the phone-hacking trial was over.

A jury at the Old Bailey court here yesterday found Murdoch's former News of the World tabloid editor Andy Coulson guilty of conspiring to hack phones, but acquitted his former UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks on all charges.

The verdict could mean that Murdoch is now threatened with a possible corporate charge for his British firm News UK (formerly News International), while the media owner also faces the prospect of criminal trials involving his journalists as well as legal actions from the alleged victims of phone hacking by the News of the World.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron was facing a grilling by MPs in the House of Commons on his decision to employ Coulson, after his former communications director was convicted of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006.

The prime minister has said he is "extremely sorry" for hiring Coulson in 2007 and then taking him to No 10, Downing Street.

The Opposition Labour party insists Cameron's association with Coulson has "tainted" the government.

Meanwhile, the phone-hacking jury has been unable to reach a verdict over charges of misconduct in public office against former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and Coulson.

The outstanding charges related to allegations the pair agreed to pay for two royal phone books.

Royals, celebrities and victims of crime had their phones hacked by the now-defunct News of the World, which was closed in July, 2011 after revelations about murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's voicemails being hacked came to light.

British police believe thousands of people's phones were targeted.

Coulson, who faces a maximum of two years in prison for hacking, and former News International chief executive Brooks were among seven defendants on trial at the Old Bailey.

The former colleagues had an on-off affair for at least six years from the late 1990s, details of which were revealed during the trial.

(Published 25 June 2014, 12:55 IST)

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