James Murdoch: I Received 'Phone Hacking' Email But I Didn't Read It
James Murdoch has admitted he received emails suggesting phone hacking was rife at News of the World, but said he did not read the messages.
In a letter to the Commons culture, media and sport committee published on Tuesday, the News International chairman admitted he had been copied in on a 2008 email chain between the tabloid's editor Colin Myler and its legal manager Tom Crone.
In it they discussed the "nightmare scenario" of evidence proving phone hacking was practised by more than one reporter.
Crone warned Myler in the email exchange, seen by the Commons committee, that Gordon Taylor, the head of the Professional Football Association who was suing the paper over phone hacking, wanted to show that what happened to him was "rife throughout the organisation".
Myler then wrote to Murdoch on 7 June 2008: "Unfortunately it is as bad as we feared... It would be helpful if Tom Crone and I could have five minutes with you on Tuesday. Colin."
Murdoch replied: "No worries. I am in during the afternoon. If you want to talk before I'll be home tonight after seven and most of the day tomorrow."
But the heir to the media empire said he did not read all of the attached emails, having only glanced quickly at the message on his BlackBerry phone.
"Given my timing of my response, just over two minutes after Mr Myler had sent his email to me, and the fact that I typically received emails on my BlackBerry on weekends, I am confident that I did not review the full email chain at the time or afterwards, nor do I recall a conversation with Mr Myler over that weekend," he said in his letter.
"Instead, having agreed to met the following Tuesday I would have relied on the oral briefing on 10 June 2008 that I have previously described in my testimony before the committee.
"I was not aware of evidence that either pointed to widespread wrongdoing or indicated that further investigation was necessary."
Murdoch has previously disputed claims by Myler and Crone about when they warned him hacking may be widespread at the paper.
He told MPs in November that he was not aware of suggestions hacking was widespread when he authorised a payment to Taylor in order to settle the court case in 2008. While Myler and Crone said they had informed him.
The emails sent to the committee by News International (published below) and Murdoch's claim he did not read them appear to go some way to clearing up the dispute.