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"The Questions Hanging Over Murdoch, USA." By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

ColumnJuly 17, 2011
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By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

To accuse Rupert Murdoch of shedding crocodile tears, with his head-in-hands apology to the family of Milly Dowler and his widely printed apology at the weekend, would be an insult to honest crocodiles everywhere. A more fitting comparison would be to Lewis Carroll’s Walrus, after luring unsuspecting oysters to a picnic with his friend the Carpenter. "'I weep for you,'" the Walrus said: / 'I deeply sympathise.' / With sobs and tears he sorted out / Those of the largest size / Holding his pocket-handkerchief / Before his streaming eyes."

The contagion affecting News Corp has spread rapidly in the US. The FBI is investigating potential criminal hacking of the voicemails of victims of the 9/11 attacks. Lawmakers and grassroots groups are also calling for an investigation into whether the bribing of police was a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. As News Corp is a US corporation, registered in the business-friendly state of Delaware,even bribery abroad could lead to felony charges in the US.

One likely consequence would be what Corporate Crime Reporter’s Russell Mokhiber calls "a wishy-washy non-prosecution settlement" wherein News Corp would admit to the crime without being convicted, and pay a financial settlement. Mokhiber noted that, in a 2008 FCPA case against Siemens for widespread bribery, Siemens paid $800m but avoided a criminal conviction that would have jeopardized its standing as a US defense contractor.

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