Murdoch Denies Seeking Favors From British Leaders

Posted April 25th, 2012 at 1:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has denied accusations he used his media empire to gain favors from British prime ministers, in testimony before an inquiry examining ties between British politicians and the press.

Murdoch said Wednesday in London, during an official inquiry into press ethics, that he has “never asked a prime minister for anything.” He issued the denial when questioned about links to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Murdoch also said it is untrue he is seeking revenge on British Prime Minister David Cameron, who ordered the inquiry following the phone-hacking scandal that toppled Murdoch's News of the World tabloid last year.

The inquiry, which reportedly will resume on Thursday, is led by Judge Brian Leveson. He is investigating allegations that reporters at News of the World got information by hacking into mobile phones and computer email accounts.

Also Wednesday, a special advisor to Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt resigned, due to claims he leaked confidential details to Murdoch's News Corp in its bid to take over British satellite pay TV group BSkyB.

Emails suggesting Hunt tried to help Murdoch in his business dealings surfaced Tuesday during questioning of Murdoch's son, James Murdoch.

News Corp is a part owner of BSkyB.

Rupert Murdoch's media empire has agreed to large payouts to 37 phone-hacking victims, which include celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

The 81-year-old mogul also owns British newspapers The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun. Senior employees at The Sun have been arrested as part of an inquiry into allegations the newspaper obtained information by bribing police and other officials.

About 40 people have been arrested due to probes into the illegal news gathering and bribery scandals.