James Murdoch has hit back at two former executives who said he had been informed of an email that suggested phone hacking went beyond a lone reporter at the News Of The World. The News International (NI) chairman, who had previously told MPs he had no knowledge of the email, said he stood by his evidence.He spoke after Colin Myler, the Sunday tabloid’s former editor, and Tom Crone, the former legal chief of its publisher, appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.They said they were certain Mr Murdoch knew about the notorious “For Neville” email, which had raised serious questions about the company’s stance that former royal correspondent Clive Goodman was the only journalist involved in hacking.
When James Murdoch appeared with his father Rupert before MPs in July, he said he was unaware of the document when he sanctioned a payout worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor, whose phone was hacked by the tabloid.The “For Neville” email, written in 2005, is said to be a transcript of hacked private information about Mr Taylor and appears to be intended for Neville Thurlbeck, the News Of The World’s (NOTW) former chief reporter.Giving evidence, Mr Crone told the committee that he knew phone hacking went wider than just Clive Goodman.He said he told James Murdoch about the key document in a 15-minute meeting, also attended by Mr Myler in 2008.
“It was clear evidence that phone hacking was taking place beyond Clive Goodman,” he said.”It was the reason we had to settle the case and in order to settle the case, we had to explain the case to Mr Murdoch and get his authority to settle, so clearly it was discussed.”The former NOTW editor added there was “no ambiguity” about the significance of the email during the meeting.He added: “Mr Murdoch was the chief executive of the company. He’s experienced.”I am experienced in what I do, Mr Crone is experienced as a legal manager.”I think everybody perfectly understood the seriousness and the significance of what we were discussing.”After the hearing, NI described the latest evidence as “unclear and contradictory”.
Mr Murdoch said in a statement: “My recollection of the meeting regarding the Gordon Taylor settlement is absolutely clear and consistent.”I stand by my testimony, which is an accurate account of events.”He said the meeting was the first time he was informed of evidence that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire had carried out the interception of Mr Taylor’s voicemail on behalf of the NOTW.He added: “Neither Mr Myler nor Mr Crone told me that wrongdoing extended beyond Mr Goodman or Mr Mulcaire.”As I said in my testimony, there was nothing discussed in the meeting that led me to believe that a further investigation was necessary.”Earlier, Daniel Cloke, ex-HR director at NI, and Jon Chapman, NI’s former head of corporate and legal affairs, appeared before the committee.
There were questions from MPs over a document written by Mr Goodman, who was jailed for phone hacking in January 2007.Two months later, Mr Goodman wrote a letter to NI’s human resources director appealing against his sacking from the NOTW, claiming that hacking was “widely discussed” at the paper.It said: “As far as I am aware, no other member of staff has faced disciplinary action, much less dismissal.”But Mr Chapman told MPs that a “thorough” review of internal emails in 2007 turned up “nothing that indicated reasonable evidence” of voicemail interception.”No other illegal activity stood out,” he said. – Skynews