James Murdoch contacted about hacking back in 2008

NEWLY published emails show that News International boss James Murdoch was sent details in 2008 of claims that phone-hacking was “rife” at the News of the World.

But Murdoch told the House of Commons Culture Committee, which is investigating the scandal, that he did not read the email exchange forwarded to him by the paper’s then editor Colin Myler.

In an email dated Saturday June 7 2008, Myler requested a meeting with Murdoch to discuss the case being brought against the paper by Professional Footballers Association chief executive Gordon Taylor over claims that reporters had eavesdropped on his messages.

The News of the World editor warned Murdoch: “Unfortunately, it is as bad as we feared.”

The email chain released shows that Murdoch was copied into messages where the scope of phone hacking at the News of the World was discussed in June 2008.

But Murdoch has said he only read the most recent email in the chain, requesting a meeting — and says he knew nothing about widespread wrongdoing at News International papers.

Attached to his message was a chain of emails detailing discussions between News International’s legal adviser Julian Pike of Farrer & Co and Mark Lewis, who represented Taylor.

Murdoch and Myler met three days later on June 10, along with Tom Crone, legal manager for publishers News Group Newspapers (NGN). Myler and Crone say that they told Murdoch at that meeting about the discovery of the notorious “For Neville” email, which proved that phone-hacking was not limited to a single “rogue reporter” as the company had claimed.

But Murdoch insists that the meeting was simply to authorise an increased settlement offer to Taylor and that he was not shown the email or told that it proved widespread wrong-doing.

The email exchange released last night shows Pike wrote to Crone on June 6, after his meeting with Lewis.

Pike said that Lewis had told him Taylor “wishes to be ‘vindicated or made rich’. He wishes to see NGN suffer. He wants to demonstrate that what happened to him is/was rife throughout the organisation. He wants to correct the paper telling parliamentary inquiries that this was not happening when it was.”

In a letter to the Culture Committee this week, Murdoch said that he had forgotten about the email exchange until he was reminded of it on December 7 by the Management and Standards Committee set up by NI’s owners News Corp to look into the hacking affair.

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