UK hacking probe sharpens focus on James Murdoch

LONDON, (Reuters) – James Murdoch knew more than  three years ago that phone-hacking at News Corp’s News of the  World went beyond one “rogue” reporter, the newspaper’s former  legal chief said yesterday, in an attempt to shift the blame  back to the top of the media empire.

As the two-month crisis that has gripped News Corp and  Britain’s political establishment deepened, Tom Crone also said  he had seen evidence that the company had recently hired  freelance reporters to spy on hacking victims’ lawyers.

In a statement, James Murdoch stuck to his denial that he  had known at the time that hacking was more widespread but  Crone’s repeated allegations, and the mention of recent spying,  cast doubt on Murdoch’s effectiveness in weeding out wrongdoing.

News Corp has been engulfed by the scandal since July when  it was revealed that the phone hacking extended beyond  celebrities and politicians to murder victims including  schoolgirl Milly Dowler, and British war dead.

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