The Justice Department’s investigation into allegations that News Corp. reporters hacked the voicemail of September 11 victims is moving a step further as the department prepares to issue subpoenas, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The New York-based media company is already facing legal troubles in Europe after reports that journalists at the century-old British tabloid, News of the World, paid bribes to British police and hacked the phones of celebrities and crime victims. News Corp.-owner Rupert Murdoch denies having prior knowledge of the hacking and bribery.
Although the company has tried to keep their troubles on the other side of the pond, the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission is stepping in to see whether News Corp. violated U.S. regulations.
Justice Department officials told The Journal the agency was currently looking into whether the suspected bribes paid to British police violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FBI has launched a separate investigation into whether News Corp. employees hacked into the voicemail of 9/11 victims.
A News Corp. spokesman called the subpoena preparation a “fishing expedition.”
“We have not seen any evidence to suggest there was any hacking of 9/11 victim's phones, nor has anybody corroborated what are clearly very serious allegations. The story arose when an unidentified person speculated to the Daily Mirror about whether it happened. That paper printed the anonymous speculation, which has since mushroomed in the broader media with no substantiation,” the spokesman said.
News Corp. owns The Wall Street Journal.