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Rupert and James Murdoch summoned to testify in hacking inquiry

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:35 AM EDT, Fri April 20, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The UK lawyer for alleged victims is in the U.S. and has more clients
  • Rupert Murdoch is to appear before an inquiry into British media ethics
  • His son James, a senior News Corp. executive, is also summoned to face questions
  • One of those arrested is a journalist at The Sun paper, News International says

London (CNN) -- Media magnate Rupert Murdoch will appear next week before the independent British inquiry into journalistic ethics prompted by phone hacking at his defunct News of the World tabloid, the investigators said Thursday.

Murdoch will appear Wednesday and perhaps Thursday morning, according to the inquiry's website.

His son, James Murdoch, a top executive in his father's company, has also been summoned and is scheduled to testify Tuesday.

The news came as police said they made three more arrests in connection with an investigation into alleged bribery of police and officials.

One of those held is a journalist at The Sun newspaper, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media empire and Britain's best-selling daily tabloid.

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The three arrests are the latest in a series in connection with three linked police inquiries into alleged phone and e-mail hacking and illegal payments to police.

A 36-year-old man was arrested at his home address in Kent on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, police said, and is being questioned.

News International, the UK arm of News Corp., confirmed that the man is a journalist for The Sun.

A 42-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman also were arrested at their home address in Lancashire in northern England.

The man, a former member of the armed forces, was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and the woman on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, police said.

Both residences are being searched.

London's Metropolitan Police said the arrests were the result of information provided to the force by News Corp.'s Management Standards Committee, an internal panel set up by the company to probe suspected misconduct.

"It relates to suspected payments to a public official and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately," the police statement said of the information.

News Corp. shut down its British Sunday tabloid, The News of the World, last summer after public outrage at the scale of illegal eavesdropping its journalists did in search of stories.

The defunct newspaper has been accused of hacking the voice mail of crime victims, politicians, celebrities and veterans.

Dozens of people have been arrested in the phone-hacking investigation, which has been running more than a year, but no one has been charged.

The British lawyer representing dozens of alleged News Corp. phone-hacking victims is in New York this week, exploring options for a U.S. case against the company.

Attorney Mark Lewis told CNN he is representing three or four new clients, one of whom is believed to be a U.S. citizen, who say their phones were hacked while they were on U.S. soil.

There are also many potential new clients, Lewis said.

"As I've been traveling here," he said, "I've been contacted by many people who've had, so they say, similar problems -- not just hacking, but maybe being trailed, or have fallen out with some American Murdoch News Corp. company, and then found themselves, as they would say, at the wrong end of investigations, the wrong end of information gathered."

The British government set up the Leveson Inquiry, an independent investigation led by a judge, in the wake of the scandal. Two parliamentary committees also are looking into media conduct.

James Murdoch has been hammered particularly hard. He has already been called twice to testify before British lawmakers and resigned from a number of positions with British subsidiaries of his father's media empire.

Murdoch, 39, has consistently denied knowing about the scale of phone hacking at the paper.

He referred to it when he resigned as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting earlier this month, saying: "I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company."

Rupert Murdoch previously testified before lawmakers in July.

Thursday's arrests came a day after the Crown Prosecution Service said London police had asked its prosecutors to file charges against at least eight people in connection with phone hacking by journalists.

The suspects include at least one journalist, a police officer and six other people, the Crown Prosecution Service said, declining to name them.

CNN's Claudia Rebaza, Richard Allen Greene and Bharati Naik contributed to this report.

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