News Corp Unit to Pay Damages to Ex-Spy Whose Computer Was Hacked

By Stu Woo Features Dow Jones Newswires

A U.K. subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp apologized in court here and agreed to pay damages to a former British intelligence officer whose computer was hacked by a private investigator working for the now-defunct News of the World.

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A spokeswoman for News UK, a News Corp subsidiary, said its News Group Newspapers business apologized in court Friday to Ian Hurst and accepted "vicarious liability," after a private investigator for the News of the World got access to his emails in 2006. The company agreed to pay Mr. Hurst's legal fees and to pay "substantial" damages, the spokeswoman said.

Mr. Murdoch closed the News of the World in 2011, amid revelations that its journalists hacked into the phones and computers of politicians, celebrities and other prominent people. The resulting national scandal forced the company to abandon a bid to buy the 61% of British pay-TV giant Sky PLC that News Corp didn't already own.

Mr. Murdoch since split the company into two: 21st Century Fox Inc., which comprises his TV and movie businesses, and News Corp, which primarily comprises newspapers. Fox is now attempting again to acquire the 61% of Sky it doesn't own. News Corp publishes several newspapers in the U.S. and U.K., including The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Murdoch and his family are major stakeholders in both Fox and News Corp.

Mr. Hurst, who had said News of the World was looking for information related to his work in Northern Ireland and with the Irish Republican Army, sued News Group Newspapers in August 2011.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 06, 2017 16:02 ET (20:02 GMT)