International - Written by on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 23:43 - 0 Comments

The Elvedon in the room: Christmas comes early for News International

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All eyes are focussed on operation Weeting, the News of the World phone hacking investigation and the Leveson enquiry in the UK.

But this is not the only investigation.

On the 20 September 2011, at the same time as the ‘offer’ of a total of £3m was made to the parents of Milly Dowler by News Corp. another story was broken by Bloomberg in the US.

The DoJ have reportedly sent a letter to News Corp. requesting that it disclose information concerning any payments made by any of its employees to officers of the UK Police for tips about stories.

In the UK there are similar investigations underway namely Operation Elvedon conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Committee and Scotland Yard. The object of this investigation is to identify UK Police Officers who received cash from News of the World Reporters in return for criminal intelligence information.

A UK Police Officer will meet the criteria of a Foreign Public Official as far as the US FCPA  is concerned.

If either operation Elveden and the DoJ’s activities provide evidence of corrupt payments then the FCPA will be in play.

We have written on numerous occasions about the level of information sharing between the SFO in the UK and the DoJ in the US. It appears as though US and UK investigators have decided to co-ordinate their enquiries.

At the moment the DoJ request has been made of News Corp. in a letter. Whilst this does not have the force of a Grand Jury subpoena it does place News Corp. in a difficult position.  If operation Elveden proves the links it seeks then the first stop for the DoJ may well be FCPA violations.

On the same day the letter from the DoJ, and it was only a letter, was reported  News Corp stock fell by 1.7%.

If made out, possible penalties for FCPA violations and other financial ramifications flowing from them, could easily overshadow the phone hacking pay outs.

 

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