The News Corp. committee investigating alleged corrupt practices at its UK newspapers is trying to determine whether cash payments of more than $156,000 were made to police officers and other public officials, the Financial Times
of London reports.
The Management and Standards Committee, which the New York-based News Corp. formed to assist police investigations of alleged phone hacking and bribery, said it handed over information that led to the arrest of nine journalists at the corporation’s The Sun of London. The committee has been under fire from reporters for helping officials in the investigation.
The Financial Times quoted an unnamed source on Wednesday who dismissed reports that the journalists are being punished merely for having lunch with sources. "This is not about sources or expenses," the source told the Financial Times. "This is an investigation into serious suspected criminality over a sustained period."
"It involves regular cash payments totaling tens of thousands of pounds a year for several years to public officials, some of whom were effectively on a retainer to provide information," the source said.
The National Union of Journalists said it is considering legal action over the committee's sharing its information with authorities.
News Corp. officials and members of the committee declined comment, the Financial Times reported.
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