News International to Settle with Phone Hacking Victims

News International, the British arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS)(NASDAQ:NWSA), has agreed to settle claims with victims of its phone hacking practice once it became clear that senior management was aware of the goings-on, and had, in fact, tried to cover it up.

Settlements ranging from 30,000 pounds to 60,000 pounds were announced in court. While some were not disclosed, actor Jude Law was awarded 130,000 pounds as he had been physically followed in Britain as well as abroad. “It is clear that I, along with many others, was kept under constant surveillance for a number of years,” Law said in a statement. “No aspect of my private life was safe from intrusion by News Group Newspapers (NGN), including the lives of my children.

“I believe in a free press but what News Group did was an abuse of its freedoms. They were prepared to do anything to sell their newspapers and to make money.”

Lawyers for victims said in a statement, “News Group has agreed to compensation being assessed on the basis that senior employees and directors of NGN knew about the wrongdoing and sought to conceal it by deliberately deceiving investigators and destroying evidence.”

News International declined to comment. According to the lawyers for the victims, it has not admitted or denied the claims but has agreed the compensation on that basis.