DESPERATE Rupert Murdoch yesterday flew to London to try to save his crumbling empire. He arrived in a cowboy-style hat to be hit by claims News of the World reporters hacked the phones of 9/11 victims. Murdoch held talks with News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, amid fears nine staff and three cops may face jail.
HIS media empire is crashing around him, he’s just shut down a scandal-hit newspaper and his BSkyB bid is in tatters, but Rupert Murdoch still came out grinning yesterday.
And this cosy picture of him giving his backing to smiling Rebekah Brooks will no doubt infuriate the 200 loyal staff at the defunct News of the World who were sacrificed while she clung to her job.
As Labour leader Ed Miliband vowed to scupper Mr Murdoch’s bid to own all of BSkyB, the News Corp boss seemed to brush off his troubles to joke with the under-fire News International chief executive – who was editor when murdered teenager Milly Dowler’s phone was hacked. Asked what his first priority was, he gestured at Mrs Brooks and said: “This one.”
Mr Murdoch arrived in London yesterday, wearing a Panama hat and clutching a final copy of the News of the World, in a bid to save his crumbling organisation after the phone-hacking scandal saw the 168-year-old paper axed.
But he flew straight into another storm as it was claimed 9/11 victims may have had their mobiles tapped by News of the World reporters. And there was more bad news when it was revealed nine reporters allegedly at the centre of the phone scandal and claims of police corruption could face jail, along with three officers.
After he spent time at News International’s Wapping HQ in East London, 80-year-old Mr Murdoch held crisis talks with Mrs Brooks, 43 - who denies any knowledge of the Milly phone tapping - at his home in Mayfair.
The pair chatted behind closed doors as a former New York cop made the 9/11 hacking claim. He alleged he was contacted by News of the World journalists who said they would pay him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead.
Now working as a private investigator, the ex-officer claimed reporters wanted the victim’s phone numbers and details of the calls they had made and received in the days leading up to the atrocity.
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