Murdoch Aide Hinton Says Previous Accounts on U.K. Hacking Were Inaccurate

Les Hinton, who resigned from New York-based News Corp. in July, told U.K. lawmakers today that information provided by executives about a hacking scandal was inaccurate.

Hinton, one of Charman Rupert Murdoch’s closest associates for half a century, was asked why he told lawmakers in 2009 there was “never any evidence delivered to me” that suggested phone-hacking was widespread at the News of the World tabloid.

“It’s clear that based on events, particularly in the last 12 months or so, that some of the answers which were given were not accurate,” Hinton told the Culture, Media and Sport Committee today. “Whether to call them untruthful is appropriate, I don’t know.”

Hinton was executive chairman of News International, the publisher of News Corp. (NWSA)’s British papers, during the period when its reporters intercepted mobile voicemail messages and paid police for stories. He resigned as chief executive officer of the Dow Jones & Co. unit after revelations that the News of the World deleted messages left on the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Hinton told lawmakers today that he has received a severance payment from News Corp. and declined to comment on the amount or structure of payments, saying that he was subject to a confidentiality agreement.

He also said that he had not been questioned by police or the company’s own internal investigators, the Management and Standards Committee. More than 16 people have been arrested in connection with the case so far.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net; Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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