Britain's Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), a leading shareholders advisory group, has warned that the current investigation into the possible bribery of police and other officials by The Sun poses a far more burdensome challenge to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp than the telephone hacking scandal. As a U.S.-based company, it could be subject to severe penalties under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, if the allegations are substantiated, the PIRC said, and senior executives could be criminally prosecuted if it should turn out that they authorized such payments. Noting that News Corp has already charged off $104 million due to the scandals, the PIRC said, adding that the amount could almost escalate into the millions of dollars before this legal drama is finished. As it has done in the part, the PIRC has called for the ouster of James Murdoch from his posts as head of News International and satellite broadcaster BSkyB. "James Murdoch's name," it said, "is inextricably linked to the company's failure to deal with the hacking issue much earlier, with questions still outstanding over what he knew and when."

15/02/2012