News Corp. More Afraid of U.S. Justice Department Than Scotland Yard

Evidence of bribes could unhinge Rupert Murdoch's businesses in the U.S.

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A member of the House of Lords says it only took him about "about three minutes, maybe five minutes" to find evidence of criminal behavior in a cache of thousands of News of the World emails. Those emails, now in the hands of the London Metropolitan Police, are causing some serious worries for high-ranking members of News Corp., not because of what they could reveal about phone hacking but what they might say about bribing police. Reuters reports:

There are growing concerns inside the company that evidence of questionable payments to police -- or other British public officials -- could fuel investigations by U.S. authorities into possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an American law that prohibits corrupt payments to foreign government officials. News International is owned by New York-based News Corp.

"We're more frightened by the (U.S. Justice Department) than we are of Scotland Yard," a source close to News Corp who was briefed about the content of the emails told Reuters. "All Scotland Yard can go after is News International but the Justice Department can go after all of News Corporation."

Violating the FCPA is just one of many legal challenges that News Corp. faces in the United States. It looks convenient for them that one of their board members is close with the U.S. attorney general leading the investigation.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.