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Friday 20 April 2012

Murdoch Is Served (73)


[Update at end of post]

The bad news just keeps on coming for Rupe and his troops: following the confirmation that Mark Lewis is looking to pursue actions on behalf of at least three people who allegedly had their phones hacked while on US soil – the three having been named on this blog last week – comes the prospect of another six cases from within the States itself.

Worse, the language being used implicates by name Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), with the suggestion that improper behaviour may have gone beyond mere hacking of phones. The New York Times has helpfully pointed out that, even before one case is filed in the USA, the business has cost the Murdoch empire around $380 million, with a potential end cost of $1 billion.

And, as if that wasn’t grim enough reading for the Dirty Digger, there is the small matter of an appearance before the Leveson Inquiry for him and Junior to negotiate next week. After the relatively middling presences of Aidan Barclay of the Telegraph and Eugeny Lebedev of the Indy and Standard on Monday, it’s Junior all day Tuesday and Rupe all Wednesday.

Just in case Murdoch senior doesn’t get through all the grilling in the one day, the nice folk who run the Inquiry have put aside the whole of Thursday to be on the safe side. And that isn’t all: the UK phone hacking lawsuits have now entered a second round, with Mr Justice Vos finding the news that there are 58 law firms representing 100 victims (yes, just the hundred this time) as “unbelievable”.

So who’s lined up for their turn at the payout window? Wayne Rooney and Emma Noble are names that leap off the page, and they aren’t the only ones: Cherie Blair, Alex Best and Colin Stagg are also taking action. There’s more: Bobby Davro, Jamie Theakston, Chris Eubank, Peter Crouch and wife Abigail, Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas are also waiting in line.

So that’s all? Well, no: Ryan Giggs, Matt Dawson, James Nesbitt and David Beckham’s father are also there, along with Paul Burrell, who as I pointed out earlier, is one of those likely to be going after Rupe in the USA. Put all of those together, along with the damages and legal fees, and you can see where the NYT got their estimate of the bill potentially reaching $1 billion.

And that won’t be all: as Mark Lewis points out, the UK actions started with just a few cases. Now we’re into the hundreds. If the lawyers in the USA are already being contacted by those who have cause to suspect that they, too, were targeted, the whole business could kick off afresh, and with rather more expensive consequences. Thus the long and sad goodbye for Rupert Murdoch.

[UPDATE 21 April 2105 hours: Rupe has wasted no time in slagging off the UK Government ahead of his arrival in the country next week, mocking its policies on the IMF, energy, education, and tax. This is another way of saying that he no longer has the ear of the Prime Minister, and may never have again. Good]

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