LONDON — British police have told Rupert Murdoch they want to interview him as a “suspect” as part of their investigation into allegations of crime at his U.K. newspapers, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper.
His son, James Murdoch, may also be questioned. James was the executive chairman of News International, which ran Murdoch’s U.K. newspapers.
The news follows the conviction yesterday of Andy Coulson, the former editor of the Murdoch’s News of the World. He was found guilty of conspiring to hack phones. Rebekah Brooks, who was chief executive at News International, was cleared on all charges.
The Coulson verdict means that Murdoch’s U.K. company, now renamed News UK, could face a corporate charge, and the prosecution of members of its former board of directors, potentially including Rupert and James Murdoch. They could be prosecuted under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which makes directors liable for prosecution if their company breaches the act “as a result of their consent, connivance or neglect.”
Commenting on the Coulson verdict, News UK said in a statement Tuesday: “We said long ago, and repeat today, that wrongdoing occurred, and we apologized for it. We have been paying compensation to those affected and have cooperated with investigations. We made changes in the way we do business to help ensure wrongdoing like this does not occur again.”
Murdoch’s U.K. company has paid damages to 718 victims of phone hacking so far.