James Murdoch, the chairman of News International, will be referred to the police for an investigation of the evidence he gave to parliament this week, a lawmaker said.
After Murdoch’s evidence was questioned by two of NI’s former executives, Tom Watson, a Labour MP who questioned Mr. Murdoch and his father in parliament during a select committee hearing on Tuesday, said to the BBC that he will ask the police to investigate the matter further.
The Murdoch’s were summoned to parliament over the phone-hacking scandal that forced them to close their best-selling Sunday tabloid, News of the World, and drop their takeover bid of BSkyB.
Murdoch said in the hearing that he was not “aware” of an email suggesting that illegal practices at the paper were more widespread than one “rogue” NoW reporter. But his version was later challenged by former NoW Editor Colin Myler and legal executive Tom Crone, who claimed they had informed him.
“James Murdoch stands by his testimony to the select committee,” News Corporation said in a statement.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Clearly James Murdoch has got questions to answer in Parliament and I’m sure he will do that.
“And clearly News International has got some big issues to deal with and a mess to clear up, that has to be done by the management of that company.
“In the end the management of the company must be a matter for the shareholders of that company, but the government wants to see this sorted out.”
Mr Watson said he will officially refer the evidence to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is running “Operating Weeting”, the wider investigation into the phone hacking scandal.
Mr Watson who called this “the most significant moment of two years of investigation into phone hacking,” said: “If their statement is accurate it shows James Murdoch had knowledge that others were involved in hacking as early as 2008, it shows he failed to act to discipline staff or initiate an internal investigation, which undermines Rupert Murdoch’s evidence to our committee that the company had a zero tolerance to wrongdoing.”
He said: “There is only going to be one person who is accurate. Either James Murdoch, who to be fair to him is standing by his version of events, or Colin Myler and Tom Crone.”
By Ali Sheikholeslami