Former Murdoch exec Les Hinton to give evidence to Parliament
Les Hinton, a former top publishing executive at News Corp. and long-time friend of its chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, has been called by a committee of British Parliament to answer a fresh round of questions later this month about the phone hacking scandal.
Hinton served for a dozen years as the executive chairman of News Corp.'s British newspaper unit, News International, when the hacking allegedly occurred. He left in late 2007 to become chief executive of Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
Three months ago, Hinton resigned, citing widening allegations of phone hacking by reporters for the now-shuttered London tabloid News of the World. He said that while he had no knowledge of any such misconduct, if true, it would have occurred during his tenure.
"I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story unfolded," Hinton said in a statement released in July. "The pain caused to innocent people is unimaginable. ... That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevent and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp."
Hinton had told a committee of Parliament in March 2007 that he believed that Clive Goodman, the News of the World journalist jailed for phone hacking, was a rogue reporter who had acted alone. As new allegations surfaced in 2009 that the conduct may have been more pervasive, Hinton told the committee that he had never received any evidence "that suggested the conduct had spread beyond one journalist."
The Parliamentary comittee on culture, media and sport will question Hinton for a third time about the phone hacking on Oct. 24, via videolink from the U.S., according to the U.K. newspaper the Guardian. Julian Pike, an attorney with News International's firm Farrer & Co., also will be questioned by the committee on Oct. 19, along with Mark Lewis, an attorney who represents phone hacking victims, the publication reports.
-- Dawn C. Chmielewski
Photo: Les Hinton, then CEO of Dow Jones & Co., in his New York office in 2008. Credit: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press