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News Corp. said to be nearing end of Justice corruption probe

March 19, 2013|By Meg James
  • Rebekah Brooks, the former chief of News Corp.'s British newspapers, arrives for a court hearing in London this month in her case stemming from the company's phone-hacking scandal.
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief of News Corp.'s British newspapers,… (Matt Dunham / Associated…)

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is get past more than two years of bruising scandals and a U.S. government investigation into alleged corruption as the company seeks to split into two publicly traded companies this summer.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Department of Justice is nearing the end of a broad investigation into alleged corruption at News Corp. in the wake of the damaging phone hacking scandal at the company's British publishing unit. 

The Journal said that DOJ investigators received information that Journal reporters provided gifts to officials in China in exchange for information for news articles. The Journal said that its parent company, Dow Jones, found no evidence to support such bribery claims.

A Department of Justice spokesman was not immediately available.

The allegations, if true, could be explosive because they would mark a potential instance of News Corp. running afoul of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That law forbids U.S. companies from providing gifts or money to foreign officials to try to gain a competitive edge.

News Corp.'s tabloid reporters in London allegedly bribed police officers for salacious news tips, which prompted the inquiry by the U.S. government.  News Corp. is based in New York.

The Department of Justice has been trying to determine whether the activities in London at Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid were violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

The Journal said that News Corp. has been negotiating a settlement with the U.S. government, and that the DOJ probe was nearing completion.

A News Corp. spokeswoman declined to comment.

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