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Murdoch Knew of Pay for Tips at Newspapers, Website Says

Murdoch Knew of Payments for Tips at Newspapers, Website Says
The logo for The Sun newspaper, published by News International, a subsidiary of News Corp., is seen outside the company's headquarters at Wapping in London. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Rupert Murdoch knew for years that journalists at his U.K. newspapers were paying public officials for tips, a British website reported, citing a recording of a conversation the executive had with journalists at the Sun.

“We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops: That’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely,” Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman, told staffers at the U.K. newspaper, according to ExaroNews, which reported yesterday on the recording.

News Corp. continues to deal with fallout from the hacking scandal at its U.K. newspapers. Last month the company won approval of a $139 million settlement of investor litigation over the matter. British prosecutors said last month that a Sun journalist and corrections officer face criminal charges over bribes paid for information about U.K. prisons.

“Mr. Murdoch never knew of payments made by Sun staff to police before News Corp. disclosed that to U.K. authorities,” the New York-based company said yesterday in a statement. “Furthermore, he never said he knew of payments. It’s absolutely false to suggest otherwise.”

News Corp. said no other company “has done as much to identify what went wrong, compensate the victims, and ensure the same mistakes do not happen again.” The company also cited cooperation with courts by its management standards committee.

News Corp., the publishing arm of Murdoch’s empire, fell 0.9 percent to $14.87 yesterday in New York. Murdoch split his newspaper division from his entertainment businesses last week. 21st Century Fox Inc., the new film and TV company, gained 1.5 percent to $29.65.

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