RupertGate expands to bribery of public officials

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

It has been some time since I have posted about RupertGate, the British media scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's tabloid media empire in Britain. Numerous former employees of Rupert Murdoch's flagship tabloid newspapers have been indicted and are being prosecuted, and some are cooperating as witnesses in exchange for plea agreements.

Prosecutors are "rolling up" everyone involved in the scandal, working their way up the chain. All roads eventually lead to the man who runs the tabloid media empire, Rupert Murdoch. It is only a matter of time before prosecutors finish prosecuting everyone in the chain of scandal and turn their attention to Murdoch.

Keep in mind that Rupert Murdoch is a naturalized U.S. citizen and spends much of his time living in the U.S. where he runs the American crown jewels in his yellow journalism crown, FAUX News Fraudcasting, New York Daily News, and the once venerable Wall Street Journal, among other lesser gems.

So the latest charges filed against Rupert Murdoch's employees for bribery of public officials hold out the very real possibility of U.S. prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act if that bribery was in any way directed from Murdoch's enterprises in the U.S. USDOJ: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The Independent in Britain reports, MoD civil servant pocketed '£100k from The Sun': Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson charged with plotting to bribe public officials:

A senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence [MoD] was on the payroll
of the Sun for almost a decade, prosecutors claimed as they charged the
former editor of Britain’s best-selling newspaper, Rebekah Brooks, and
its chief reporter with plotting to bribe public officials.

Bettina Jordan Barber, a strategy officer at the MoD in London with responsibility for Afghanistan, allegedly passed information for stories to Rupert Murdoch’s redtop tabloid between 2004 and 2012 in return for £100,000.

The Crown Prosecution Service today revealed that charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct were being laid against Ms Brooks,
the Sun’s long-standing chief reporter John Kay and Ms Barber,
following a police inquiry into newspaper payments to public officials.

They are said to have committed the offence during an eight-year period between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012.

The
News of the World’s former editor, Andy Coulson and the News of the
World’s royal editor Clive Goodman were charged separately with two
counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct over an alleged plot to obtain contact details for the Royal Family.

Alison
Levitt, QC, principal legal advisor to the Director of Public
Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said the police had sent the CPS two files
on conspiracy to commit misconduct in public life on 30 August.

In
a statement this morning, she said: “All of these matters were
considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the
public interest in cases affecting the media.

“This guidance asks
prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the
conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing
criminal proceedings.”

Detailing the case against the Sun, she
said: “We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence,
that Bettina Jordan Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks should be
charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012.

“This
conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan
Barber for payment which formed the basis of a series of news stories
published by the Sun. It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid
to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011.”

* * *

Scotland Yard has been carrying out three sprawling inquiries into illegal newsgathering at News International . . . Operation Weeting into phone hacking, Tuleta into computer hacking
and other breaches of privacy and Elveden into corruption of public
officials
have made 97 arrests, of journalists, police officers, civil
servants, prison and tax officials and members of the Armed Forces.

As a result, 20 people have now been charged.

Mrs
Brooks, who edited the Sun between 2003 and 2009, and five others –
including her husband Charlie Brooks – have been accused of conspiracy
to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to hack phones.

Mr Coulson, who served as Mr Cameron’s director of communications for five years, until his resignation last January, is accused of perjury in Scotland and conspiracy to hack phones in England and Wales.

Five
other former NoW journalists – managing editor Stuart Kuttner, chief
reporter Neville and news editors Ian Edmonson, Greg Miskiw and James
Weatherup – have been charged with conspiracy to hack phones, along with
a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire.

The former editor of the
NoW’s Scottish edition, Bob Bird, has been charged with attempting to
pervert the course of justice and its news editor Douglas Wight with
perjury, conspiracy to hack phones, and conspiracy to obtain personal
data.

In addition, a counter-terrorism officer, Detective Chief
Inspector April Casburn, is accused of leaking information to the News
of the World about the police inquiry into whether to reopen the
investigation into phone hacking in 2010. She is due to stand trial in
January.

* * *

All five charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The Leveson Inquiry report into the ‘culture, practice and ethics’ of the press is expected to be published next week.

It is clear from the investigations by Scotland Yard in Britain that a culture of corruption was the norm at Rupert Murdoch's flagship tabloid newspapers in Britain. It strains credulity to believe that Murdoch did not engender the same culture of corruption at his U.S. media holdings (and elswhere in the world). A leopard does not change its spots. An investigation into his media holdings in the U.S. is warranted.

Earlier this year, Rupert Murdoch’s witness statement
to the Leveson Inquiry confirmed that his News Corporation has been actively
cooperating with a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the
company. Murdoch Confirms U.S. Department of Justice Investigation Into News Corporation. What is the status of those investigations?

The U.S. media has been distracted for the past year and a half with the U.S. elections and has not done a particular good job of reporting on the RupertGate scandal. Now that charges of bribery of public officials have been filed and there is the potential for U.S. prosecutions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, it is time for the media to shine a bright light on the culture of corruption that exists in the Rupert Murdoch media empire.

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