NEWS CORP SHAREHOLDERS LAUNCH ANOTHER LEGAL BATTLE
A trio of major News Corp shareholders has amended its legal action against the company’s board of directors, claiming that the board has repeatedly behaved in a manner to ensure that it is in lockstep with the company’s chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch. According to a court filing by lawyers for Amalgamated Bank, the Central Laborers’ Pension Fund and the New Orleans Employees’ Retirement System, the board had willfully turned a blind eye to early revelations that telephone hacking at the company’s British tabloid News of the World was being conducted on an industrial basis by reporters and private investigators working for the Sunday newspaper. The shareholders maintain that the board was well aware of the illegal acts but failed to do anything about them for fear of upsetting Murdoch. “Murdoch historically has operated News Corp as his own private fiefdom with little or no effective oversight from the board,” the shareholders alleged. They further claim that News Corp set up its own internal investigation team — its so-called Management and Standards Committee — as a “fig leaf” to prevent deeper inspection of possible wrongdoing by company personnel.