James Murdoch quit as executive chairman of News International yesterday, but said he will remain as deputy chief operating officer of parent group News Corporation.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive at News Corporation, said: ‘We are all grateful for James’ leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group’s strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programmes.’
Murdoch’s resignation comes directly as a result of the Leveson inquiry’s investigation of the corrupt links between the Metropolitan Police and the Sun newspaper.
Sue Akers the deputy Met Police commissioner told the inquiry that the Sun Newspaper established a ‘network of corrupted officials’ and a ‘culture of illegal payments’ to police and other public officials.
She added that there had been ‘multiple payments’ by the Sun to public officials of thousands of pounds, and that one person received £80,000 in corrupt payments over a number of years, and also that a Sun journalist drew more than £150,000 over several years to pay off sources.
Akers said there was a system to hide the identities of those receiving the cash.
The inquiry was informed this week that former Sun editor Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks were informed by Tom Crone, the former chief lawyer of the Sun that the police had Goodman and Mulcaire ‘bang to rights’ on illegally intercepting voicemails of Buckingham Palace staff – and that the police had discovered a list of ‘100-110 victims’.
Coulson was also told police had found records of payments to Mulcaire, who worked for the News of the World from News International, worth over £1m.