News Corp. Will Fight U.K. Civil Bribery Claims, Lawyer Says

News Corp. (NWSA)’s U.K. unit won’t offer compensation to anyone suing it over bribery of public officials by journalists at the company’s tabloid newspapers.

News International will “resist” any claims stemming from the bribery investigations by U.K. police, Dinah Rose, the company’s lawyer, said at a London court hearing today. Lawyers for the victims of phone hacking said there were as many as 10 possible lawsuits waiting to be filed.

News Corp. newspapers have been at the heart of wide-ranging investigations over the past three years that have uncovered alleged bribery and phone hacking at two tabloids. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World after revelations journalists had illegally accessed messages on the mobile phone of a murdered school girl.

“There are a number of law firms who have done very well out of this litigation,” Rose said in court. “There is a certain amount of ambulance chasing going on.”

Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of News International pleaded not guilty at a London hearing June 6 to charges she conspired to commit misconduct in a public office. The criminal and civil proceedings are running in parallel.

News Corp. has resolved around 95 percent of the claims made against it by victims of voice-mail interception through court-approved settlements and an out of court process created by the company, Rose said. There are 26 cases remaining, Hugh Tomlinson, the victims’ lawyer, said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

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

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