The only thing more intimidating than Viet Dinh's resume are his close ties to powerful members of the government. A former Assistant Attorney General during the Bush administration, he helped draft the Patriot Act. He now sits on the board of directors of News Corp., and as Massimo Calabresi at TIME's Swampland blog explains, he's leading the company's internal investigation of the phone hacking scandal:
He also is best friends with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, who is leading the U.S. investigation into the company.
Bharara is also currently investigating News Corp. on charges of corruption and anti-competitive behavior as well as allegations that a News Corp. tabloid hacked the phones of 9/11 victims. As a prosecutor, he's expected to be a little harder than News Corp.'s board of directors. But Dinh was the best man at Bharara's wedding as well as the godfather to Rupert Murdoch's son Lachlan. Calabresi adds that Bharara has announced an intention to recuse themselves from the investigations, and both men refused to be interviewed for Calabresi's report.
In addition to casting doubt on the integrity of the U.S. investigation, the connection between Dinh and Bharara amplifies claims of nepotism on News Corp.'s board. Though Murdoch continues to insist that his independent directors are indeed independent and in compliance with corporate governance standards, a New York Times report published Tuesday details Murdoch's "familiar, friendly" ties with his board members and suggests otherwise. "News Corporation considers nine of its 16 directors independent, in keeping with Nasdaq rules requiring a majority of board members with limited company ties," explains Jeremy W. Peters. "Yet many of them owe their careers to Mr. Murdoch. Others made millions of dollars making him richer."