Media & Communications Law

Probe of UK Tabloid's Phone-Hacking Expands; FBI is Looking at Claims 9/11 Victims Were Targeted

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It isn’t just on the other side of the pond that a British tabloid newspaper is being investigated for alleged widespread telephone hacking.

The FBI has now opened a preliminary inquiry into claims that News Corp.’s News of the World may have illegally sought access to the phone records of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the New York Times reports.

Wiretapping and bribery are the methods that reportedly may have been used.

Meanwhile, as noted in a prior post, the company could face another U.S. probe if the Department of Justice or Securities Exchange Commission were to pursue a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation.

If so, News Corp. could be looking at a $100 million bill simply to defend such a case and, if convicted, could face a far larger fine, the Telegraph reports.

Although an FCPA investigation apparently hasn’t yet been initiated against News Corp., which is a publicly held United States company, several senators yesterday sent letters to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to begin one, according to CNN.

The statute prohibits a U.S. individual or company from paying foreign officials to get or keep business.

Earlier coverage: “‘Adult Supervision’ Lacking in UK Paper’s Phone-Hacking, Del. Suit Says, Blaming Board” “High-Up Cop ‘Like Clouseau’ as ‘06 News of World Probe Fizzled; Was Ex-Prime Minister Hacked?” “Hacking Scandal Leaves News Corp. Legal Department in Disarray”

Updated at 4:37 p.m. to link to Telegraph and CNN coverage re Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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