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US investors launch legal broadside against Murdoch

A powerful group of News Corp's shareholders have accused Rupert Murdoch of “egregious” behaviour and treating his media empire like a "family candy jar".

world Updated: Jul 12, 2011 23:27 IST
Rupert Neate/ The Guardian

A powerful group of News Corp's shareholders have accused Rupert Murdoch of “egregious” behaviour and treating his media empire like a "family candy jar".

The group, which includes banks and pension funds, accused Murdoch of “rampant nepotism” and using News Corp resources for “his own personal and political objectives”.

The institutional shareholders, led by the Amalgamated Bank, said it was “inconceivable” that Murdoch would not have been aware of rampant phone hacking at the News of the World.

“It is inconceivable that (James) Murdoch and his fellow board members would not have been aware of the illicit news gathering practices. And yet, the board took no real action to investigate the allegations until July 7, 2011, when Murdoch selected two of his co-directors to deal with the imbroglio,” the shareholders said in a legal filing in Delaware, US, where News Corp is registered.

“These revelations should not have taken years to uncover and stop,” the filing adds. “(They) show a culture run amok within News Corp and a board that provides no effective review or oversight.”

The shareholders noted that Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International and editor of the News of the World at the time of the hacking, was consistently promoted even as the scandal was unfolding.

The legal filing is an update to an earlier lawsuit against the appointment of Elisabeth Murdoch to News Corp’s board following the $615m acquisition of her Shine Group production company. The shareholder group owns less than 1% of News Corp stock.

The Guardian