Rupert Murdoch and News Corp: Another Step Closer to Shedding Controversial Past

About 15 phone-hacking victims of News Corp.’s (NASDAQ:NWS) (NASDAQ:NWSA) British newspaper unit have settled their suits in court. Nine of those 15 were going to participate in a test case scheduled to be heard next week that would resolve so-called ‘generic issues’ and set damage guidelines. Actor Steve Coogan and soccer agent Sky Andrew are among the high profile claimants who settled, and will receive 40,000 pounds and 75,000 pounds, respectively. Soccer player Paul Gascoigne and Alastair Campbell, former spokesman for Tony Blair, also settled.

“I am particularly pleased that News Group have also undertaken to continue searches of other ‘documents in its possession,’ so that I can ascertain the extent of any further wrongdoing, both for the time I worked in Downing Street and since,” Campbell said on his website. “They have agreed I ‘may be entitled to further damages in certain circumstances.’”

Judge Geoffrey Vos said that the settlement agreements would likely delay the test trial. “The primary issue today is what we are going to do with the trial,” he said.

The phone-hacking scandal caused the shuttering of News of the World, a British tabloid owned by News Corp., last summer. Claims by victims have so far cost News Corp. almost $7.9 million in settlements. Judicial and police probes are still under way.

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