NBC: Justice Dept. Probing News Corp.'s Bribes to Police

Monday, 18 Jul 2011 09:58 PM

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The British phone hacking scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. newspapers in Britain is showing signs of arriving on American shores, according to NBC’s Michael Isikoff.

Isikoff reported Monday night that the $39 billion corporate empire is facing a financial and legal crisis in the United States. The company, which owns Fox News and 20th Century Fox studios, has seen its stock drop 21 percent in two weeks – and $8 billion plunge in market value.

The Obama Justice Department, at the request of primarily Democrat members of Congress, has begun in inquiry into News Corp. practices. The FBI is investigating claims that British reporters may have hacked the phones of 9/11 victims in the United States. Yet, there is no hard evidence of this.

Rather, investigators are looking at claims that News Corp. reporters in Britain allegedly paid off police officers for stories. If true, that could violate U.S. laws that prohibit companies from bribing officials overseas. The law is known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In a statement to NBC News, News Corp. stressed that they are taking the allegations seriously, but rejected the notion – contained in one shareholder lawsuit – that any hacking or other illegal practices is indicative of the company’s “culture.”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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