Exaro Exclusive: £1bn bill for phone hacking says Murdoch ex chief exec

Tom Mockridge Pic couretsy mediaweek.co.uk

Tom Mockridge Pic couretsy mediaweek.co.uk

In the second comprehensive leak of a meeting from the Murdoch Empire Tom Mockridge,now the former chief executive of News International, has admitted that News Corp is facing a bill of up to £1 billion just to cope with the phone hacking scandal.
He also discloses in the second transcript of a private meeting last November obtained by Exaro News that without US backing every UK paper -including the Sun and the Sunday Times – would now be closed down because of huge costs.
This is the second secret recording – the first revealed what Rupert Murdoch really thought about the hacking scandal.
In the new secret recording,Mockridge says: “There’s a shitload of just financial expense – across the civil cases,” he says. “The hacking probably, by the time it’s all over, is going to cost News Corp minimum of £500 million, if not a billion.”
On the future of NI in Britain he says: “If NI wasn’t a subsidiary to News Corporation, this company would be bankrupt now. There wouldn’t be a Sun, a Times, a Sunday Times. There’s no way this company, as a stand-alone operation, could afford to financially sustain the exposure it’s taken.”
The rest of the conversation is spiced with racy comments describing what has happened to NI as ” open heart surgery”. Lawyers who conducted the investigation into NI are described as ” bastards” and he gives the strongest commitment to saying NI will keep employing arrested journos even if found guilty in the courts.
Mr Mockridge now has a new job as chief executive of Virgin Media. News UK- the successor to News International – didn’t want to know about his comments while they employed him yesterday. A terse statement to Exaro said: “Tom Mockridge no longer works for the company”.
With a trial imminent I feel constrained from commenting except to say these figures are far higher than anything that has been revealed to shareholders and don’t include costs for other actions. However on the Inforrm blog there is a good comment piece by Michelle Stanistreet, president of the National Union of Journalists on the present situation facing journalists.

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