BSkyB board backs James Murdoch unanimously

More phone hacking allegations emerge

The board of British satcaster BSkyB voted unanimously to keep James Murdoch as chairman on Thursday, as new revelations about phone hacking emerged at News Intl., where he is also chairman.

Murdoch won the vote despite the ongoing phone hacking and police bribery scandal at News Intl., the British newspaper arm of News Corp., which led to the closure of tabloid the News of the World, nixed the conglom’s $12 billion takeover bid for BSkyB (in which it holds a 39% stake) and has sparked separate police, parliamentary and judicial inquiries into the use of private investigators by News Intl. and by other newspaper groups to unearth stories through phone hacking.

Minutes after news of BSkyB’s decision was leaked, further revelations about the News of the World started to circulate in the local media.

Children’s charity the Phoenix Foundation, set up by Sara Payne, mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah, alleges that a phone given to the grieving mother by former News Intl. CEO Rebekah Brooks when she was editor of the News of the World may have been hacked by a private detective employed by the paper.

The paper led a campaign to introduce a U.K. version of America’s Megan’s Law, which came to be known as Sarah’s Law, after the dead child.

“These allegations are abhorrent and particularly upsetting as Sara Payne is a dear friend,” Brooks said in a statement.

Although Murdoch was not chairman of News Intl. when the phone hacking took place, it’s alleged he may have learned about it when he became chairman and sought to hush it up. It is further alleged that he may have misled a parliamentary inquiry when questioned about what he knew about the scandal and when.

BSkyB releases its quarterly results on Friday, which are expected to show continued growth and a special dividend payment.

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