U.S. expands probe of News Corp: report

CHICAGO Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:28pm EDT

Rupert Murdoch, Australian-American media mogul and the Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, speaks briefly to the media as he arrives at the Sun Valley Inn before the start of the second day of the Allen and Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho in this July 7, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante/Files

Rupert Murdoch, Australian-American media mogul and the Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, speaks briefly to the media as he arrives at the Sun Valley Inn before the start of the second day of the Allen and Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho in this July 7, 2011 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Anthony Bolante/Files

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Authorities are investigating if Britain's News Corp had a broader pattern of misconduct in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition on Saturday.

The latest investigation concerns past allegations of misconduct, including the company's supermarket-coupon and advertising unit that settled a lawsuit from a competitor alleging computer hacking, the newspaper said.

News Corp owns the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. and British investigators have not yet found evidence in phone-hacking investigations that victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States were targeted, the Wall Street Journal said. Allegations of such hacking stemmed from an article in Britain's Daily Mirror.

The FBI said on July 14 that it was examining allegations that News Corp may have tried to hack into phone records of September 11 victims.

News Corp already is under investigation by U.S. prosecutors for phone-hacking allegations that surfaced last month and linked to its now closed News of the World tabloid, the paper said. In Britain, 12 former staffers have been arrested in that case.

The coupon case, in which a company alleged its computers were hacked, is more than five years old. While that means the statute of limitations could bar prosecution, U.S. authorities are trying to find more recent wrongdoings, which would allow pursuit of older matters, unnamed sources told the newspaper.

(Reporting by Bob Burgdorfer)

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