FBI probes News Corp activities in US

New York, July 15 (IANS/EFE) The FBI said Thursday that it is looking into the US activities of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation amid the scandal over phone-hacking by one of the media giant's British newspapers.

"We are aware of the accusations and the FBI has begun an investigation," a spokesperson at the Bureau's New York field office told EFE.

The spokesperson declined to say whether the probe would focus on allegations that the now-defunct British tabloid at the heart of the scandal, News of the World, had attempted to access the phones of victims of the Sep 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

News Corp shut down the Sunday tabloid July 10 as new information showed that the extent of illegal activity, first exposed in 2007, was greater than initially known, involving not only phone-hacking of crime victims and their families, but substantial bribes to police.

Murdoch's US holdings include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and Fox Television.

On Tuesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, called for investigations of News Corp practices in the US to "ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated".

Rockefeller's appeal was echoed Wednesday by Rep. Peter King in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The congressman, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security, referred to accounts in The Daily Mirror, a competitor of News of the World, that said the Murdoch tabloid had tried to obtain telephone records for some 9/11 victims.

"If these allegations are proven true, the conduct would merit felony charges for attempting to violate various federal statutes related to corruption of public officials and prohibitions against wiretapping," King said.

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