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Murdoch company offers compensation to phone-hacking victims

November 4, 2011 | 10:37 am

REPORTING FROM LONDON -- Victims of phone hacking by News of the World journalists have been invited to apply for compensation, according to a statement released Friday by the defunct tabloid’s parent company News International.

The company, an arm of business mogul Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, said the tabloid had “admitted being responsible for intercepting the voice mails of certain individuals” and News International would use the voluntary compensation plan as an alternative to litigation.

The plan, to be adjudicated by an independent authority -- British High Court Judge Charles Grey -- offers payments that would cover “reasonable legal costs,” the News International statement said. The news group quoted Grey as saying the agreement “should provide very significant benefits ... such as avoiding the enormous expense of court proceedings.”

British police have identified almost 5,800 potential phone-hacking victims targeted by former News of the World media executives and journalists. Local news reports indicate that 65 of the alleged victims have filed suit against News International.

News of the compensation plan came as authorities announced the arrest of another suspect in the ongoing inquiry into phone hacking and corrupt practices by media executives and journalists from News International.

The 48-year-old suspect, who police did not identify, was arrested on “suspicion of corruption allegations,” according to a statement from Scotland Yard, London’s metropolitan police station. The arrest was the sixth such detention under Operation Elveden -- one of three investigations into unlawful phone hacking and corruption practices, police said

Elveden was launched in July to investigate allegations of payments amounting to $200,000 to police by News of the World journalists in connection with information obtained from illicit phone interceptions.

Revelations that journalists at the popular tabloid hacked into the phones of celebrities and crime victims forced the paper’s closure in July.


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-- Janet Stobart

Photo: Rupert Murdoch, right, chairman of News Corp., walks in London with his son James Murdoch on July 10. Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA