As if there's not enough controversy surrounding Rupert Murdoch's camp these days, now reports are saying that his Sun tabloid regularly paid off corrupt public officials and police, normalizing a "culture ... of illegal payments," to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, the officer leading the police investigation into News International, told an inquiry today: "Systems have been created to facilitate those payments whilst hiding the identity" of a "network of corrupted officials," the officer added. This revelation could mean a stepping-up of the US's investigation of News Corp, should the new evidence be handed to the FBI.
Akers added that the payments were approved "at a very senior level within the newspaper," and were generally large sums. For instance, the investigation turned up a $125,000 payment to a single official. Among others, the corrupt officials in question include individuals in the Health Ministry and prison service. Murdoch's camp released a statement in response to the new revelations, calling such activities "ones of the past" that "no longer exist at the Sun."
None of the journalists complicit with these alleged acts have been charged. They were, however, all suspended from Sun pending a legal investigation... that is until Murdoch reinstated them all and promised them that News International (the British newspaper branch of his company News Corp) would cover their legal costs.
But the investigation is hardly over according to Officer Akers, who said: “We are nearer the start than the finish on this inquiry and there remain a number of persons of interest. These include journalists and public officials.”
More on this as it develops.
Do you think there's more to this corruption?