News International Statement
News International notes that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has opened a new investigation into police payments.
Lord Macdonald QC, the highly regarded former Director of Public Prosecutions, has been appointed by the News Corporation board to advise News International (NI) on the extensive co-operation it is providing to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) regarding any inquiries into police payments at the News of the World.
The appointment, which was made in May, is one of a series of measures to address these issues since January 2011 when information was voluntarily disclosed by News International that re-opened the investigation into illegal voicemail interception known as Operation Weeting.
NI cannot comment on the detail of the information voluntarily disclosed on June 20 because we do not want to prejudice any on-going inquiries.
But the fact that these developments came as a result of voluntary disclosure demonstrates not only full co-operation with the MPS but also NI’s determination as a company to deal responsibly and correctly with the issues that have arisen.
We also welcome today’s cross-party calls for a broad public inquiry into standards and practices in the industry.
In the meantime we have already been taking the following practical steps, some already announced by Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks, to co-operate fully with the police and institute what we hope will become an industry-leading governance, compliance and standards structure at the News of the World, and NI as a whole:
* In April we announced an unreserved apology to victims in civil litigation and admitted liability in a number of cases.
* All related issues are being handled by a Management and Standards Committee comprising William Lewis (General Manager, News International), Simon Greenberg (Director of Corporate Affairs, News International), and Jeff Palker (News Corporation’s General Counsel, Europe and Asia.
* Joel Klein, who is providing strategic guidance, and independent director Viet Dinh are keeping the News Corp board fully advised on these issues.
* Jeff Palker has assumed executive control over, and responsibility for, all News International legal matters.
* We have been working for some time with leading law firm Olswang to examine in great detail what we can learn from the past
* As a result of that on-going examination, Olswang will recommend a series of policies, practices and systems to create a more robust governance, compliance and legal structure for our titles. We hope that, over time, this structure will become a standard for our industry and we are committed to publishing both Olswang’s terms of reference and their final recommendations. Chief Financial Officer Susan Panuccio will play a role in the implementation of these measures.
* We will continue to cooperate fully with the on-going Press Complaints Commission inquiry into unlawful voicemail interception and liaise with them regularly on the Olswang review.
* We announced last month the appointment of an eminent former High Court judge, Sir Charles Gray, to act as independent adjudicator for our Compensation Scheme to ensure the speedy, fair and efficient resolution of legitimate civil claims of illegal voicemail interception. Separately, in recent weeks we have also settled two of the leading civil cases and expect other settlements to follow.
We are confident that such measures demonstrate our seriousness and responsibility in dealing with these legacy issues.
News International Limited publishes The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and News of the World. Newsprinters prints the national titles and operates as a contract printing subsidiary for the three state of the art printing plants. Further brands which are part of the group include the Times Literary Supplement and milkround.co.uk. The News International group has an investment in fashion website BrandAlley.co.uk.
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