Monday, November 28, 2011

Australian Politician: Murdoch's Son Present At Bribe Lunch

Rupert Murdoch owns the Fox "News" channel in the U.S.

November 28, 2011 10:57 am ET by Eric Boehlert

Amplifying his claim that a high-ranking executive for Rupert Murdoch once offered to orchestrate friendly news coverage for a politician in exchange for a "no" vote in Parliament, a former Australian senator now claims Murdoch's oldest son was present at the lunch where the bribe was first offered.

The Australian Federal Police are currently investigating the bribery allegations, at a time when authorities in Europe and North America continue to examine allegations of criminal conduct by Murdoch's news empire.

Last week, former senator Bill O'Chee claimed that in 1998 when a bill proposing the creation of digital television in Australia was nearing a vote, an unnamed News executive, along with a lobbyist, invited O'Chee to lunch to try to get him to vote against the bill. (Murdoch's company stood to benefit financially if the bill failed.)

In exchange for his support, the Murdoch executive promised a "special relationship" between Murdoch newspapers and the politician, and that he could rely on political support from Murdoch media; that his Australian newspapers would "take care" of the conservative legislator. (O'Chee soon voted yes; the bill passed.)

In a subsequent interview with the Associated Press, O'Chee claimed Murdoch's oldest son, Lachlan, was present during portions of the lunch at which the quid pro quo were discussed. Lachlan at the time was a senior executive in Murdoch's News Corp. empire. (The son resigned his executive position in 2005.)



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