Evidence emerging from the Leveson Inquiry hints that the Tories entered into a ‘Grand Bargain’ with News International.
Rupert Murdoch presented an impression of almost otherworldly innocence in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice: harmless, cuddly, a bit forgetful for sure, but nevertheless a man of definite integrity.
It was a charming event in its way. But watching this Oxford-educated showman, perhaps appearing for the final time on a public stage, it was easy to forget one important truth. The newspapers Mr Murdoch owns are under investigation for a number of crimes that include bribery, perversion of the course of justice, destruction of evidence, interception of emails, phone hacking and perjury.
No fewer than 16 of his editors or senior journalists, along with one chief executive and 10 reporters, have been arrested. There are three active police investigations, as a result of which four police officers have been arrested, as have 15 others, including civil servants and members of the Armed Forces. In all, nearly 50 people have been arrested.
A criminal culture stretched right across Mr Murdoch’s News International, if the police are right. Indeed, it is very important to stress that we are not just talking about the case of one rogue cell, as so often when corporate law‑breaking occurs. All across Mr Murdoch’s media outlets – the Sun, the now-closed News of the World, The Times, and Sky Television – there are allegations of very serious criminal misconduct.