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Opening a new front in legal issues for News International and its UK publishing subsidiary, News Corp., Britain's Serious Fraud Office is pondering an investigation into the six-figure settlements News Corp. has made with its hacking victims. It is not clear whether police bribes and £8.5 million in gag-order payouts to former execs are to be investigated.

A crusading MP has asked the SFO to do so. No confirmation or denial, per usual practice, from the SFO that it will.

Since James Murdoch's only admitted role in the phone-hacking scandal is signing off on a six-figure settlement to one hacking victim, a query into whether or not News Corp. was misallocating its funds would target James, as well as apparently making shareholders of News International victims of the fraud. Britain's Channel 4 finance dude Faisal Islam also asserts that the Serious Fraud Office would be the agent in Britain of any U.S. Department of Justice investigation.
http://www.channel4.com/news/preliminary-inquiry-into-news-international-by-fraud-office



FYI, here's the link to the magisterial 10/10 NYT Mag piece on the whole scandal -- the forest and the trees of the last 10 days' narrative. It is alleged to be the cannonade across the SS Rupe's bow by the NYT, targeted by Rupe as a rival and an enemy of his Manhattan sinecure, the Wall Street Journal.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05hacking-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=global-home

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