In a new blow to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., the FBI is
investigating whether a former Russian subsidiary bribed local officials to
boost its billboard business, according to reports Monday in the Financial
Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The reports came amid investigations in both the United States and UK into allegations that journalists from the now-closed News of the World hacked into the voicemails of celebrities, politicians and crime victims and that employees of The Sun made illegal payments to police for sensitive information.
U.S. authorities are also investigating whether some of the company's UK journalists jacked the voicemails of 9/11 victims and expanded the investigation to the Russian company in a bid to ascertain whether a "culture of corruption" exists in News Corp, the Financial Times reported.
The probe focuses on a company called News Outdoor Russia, which News Corp sold last July. A spokesperson for the company said that it was "not possible" that employees had engaged in corrupt behaviour.
"News Outdoor Russia was an investment project for News Corp. and (News Corp.) didn't participate in the operations of the company," the spokesperson told the Journal, which itself is owned by News Corp.
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