Phone Hacking: Mr Forgetful Les Hinton 'Can't Remember' Key Moments In Hacking Scandal
Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch's right hand man, has denied any role in the phone hacking scandal but admitted: "The full story is unclear".
In a bizarre exchange with MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport committee, the former Executive Chairman of News International, repeated the phrases: "I don't know ... I can't remember ... I don't recall," numerous times.
Via an awkward video link, which had a time lag, he said: "I am unclear on what it is that happened. It really isn't something I can properly answer. I really look forward to the day I can.
"You are talking about events which happened five years ago. Forgive me but I'm being straight forward with you."
Asked directly by MP Paul Farrelly: "What do you think happened at News of the World?" Hinton said: "This whole affair is still unfolding" but added: "I can't answer now."
He added: "I think it's clear that based on events over the last 12 months that some of the answers were not accurate.
"I think it became clear in the last couple of years that there was much more to this affair.
"It's clear that some of the answers given were not accurate, whether you could call them untruthful I don't know."
At one point Tom Watson, who has pursued the phone hacking ruthlessly, protested at the number of times Hinton's memory seemed to fail.
Watson told Hinton hed used the "don't remember" line seven times, compared to 32 times during evidence in 2009.
"We've got a long way to go yet," said Hinton to laughter.
He confirmed he'd received a settlement payment from News Corp following his resignation but denied he was still being paid by the company.
When asked by Tom Watson if he still had a company car, he said "no" but was unable to expand on his settlement deal because he’d signed a "confidentially" agreement.
Speaking about the closure of News of the World he said it was a "terrible moment" and he apologised to anyone who was a victim of News International's methods.
Hinton admitted he didn't wasn't "personally involved" in the internal investigation into hacking.
Fighting off criticism about the lack of a proper investigation into hacking he said: "I look forward to understanding what did unfold and what we could have done.
"I did have a lot of other things to do," he said adding there was no reason for James Murdoch, who has been recalled to give evidence on 10 November, to resign.