Hacking Digest: The Latest Developments

Murdochs in the Dock

After the Tuesday drama of key figures in the hacking scandal, including Rupert and James Murdoch, testifying before Parliamentary committees, Prime Minister David Cameron’s Wednesday morning in Parliament, in which he was questioned by MPs for hours on his connections to the affair, seemed relatively tame. The day nevertheless produced more developments on the News International hacking scandal.

Glenn Mulcaire: Yesterday, when News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) deputy COO James Murdoch was pressed on News International paying the legal fees of the private investigator indicted for hacking for News of the World, Murdoch said he was surprised at the revelation. Today that surprise was turned into action as the agreement got terminated. This means Mulcaire might be able to come clean on all the people who solicited his services. (via Guardian)

Payoffs: Just how much has News International had to put towards settling claims with hacking victims? James Murdoch told the committee the cost of settling football union exec Gordon Taylor’s was estimated at £500,000 -to $1 million, but today some questions are getting raised about how accurate some of it was. The Guardian writes that £1 million was spent on one single case, that of football union executive Gordon Taylor.

Harbottle & Lewis: Another loose end from yesterday. The law firm that was retained by News International to assess 300 emails for phone hacking, seemingly giving the all-clear, was slammed by Rupert Murdoch yesterday for making a big mistake by not spotting the problems. Harbottle was unable to defend itself — until today, when it was given the all-clear to be released from its client confidentiality requirement so that it can spell out the nature of News Corp.’s requirements. (via Guardian)

Andy Coulson: With the focus switching to David Cameron, more questions about his relationship with Andy Coulson, the former editor of NoTW at the time of the some of the hacking allegations. Cameron still won’t say which external company vetted Coulson for the job (which of course makes people wonder what he is hiding), but it has emerged that Coulson didn’t have the highest level of security clearance. That’s one small relief for Cameron. (via Guardian)

BSkyB: Another topic that got the silent treatment from Cameron, who refused to give an answer when asked if he had ever discussed BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) during his meetings with Rebekah Brooks.

Lots more on the scandal at our News of the World archive.

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