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Timeline: News Corp and the phone-hacking scandal
November 30, 2011 / 2:32 PM / 6 years ago

Timeline: News Corp and the phone-hacking scandal

(Reuters) - Here is a timeline of the major events in the British phone-hacking scandal since July:

July 4 - A lawyer for the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler says police have told him that her voicemail messages had been hacked, possibly by a News of the World investigator.

July 7 - News Corp announces it will close the News of the World. The July 10 edition is to be the last.

July 8 - Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor who also served as Prime Minister David Cameron’s chief media adviser until resigning in January 2011, is arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. The News of the World’s former royal editor, Clive Goodman, is re-arrested.

July 11 - Murdoch withdraws News Corp’s offer to spin off BSkyB’s Sky News channel, made to help win approval for News Corp’s bid for 61 percent of BSkyB it does not own.

July 13 - News Corp withdraws its bid for BSkyB. This pre-empts a planned vote in parliament.

-- Tom Crone, legal manager at News International, resigns.

July 14 - Rupert Murdoch tells the Wall Street Journal, part of his empire, that News Corp handled the crisis “extremely well in every way possible,” making only “minor mistakes.”

July 15 - Rebekah Brooks, a former News of the World editor, resigns as chief executive of News International.

-- Les Hinton, who as executive chairman of News International told parliament in 2009 that any problem with hacking was limited to one case, resigns as chief executive of Murdoch’s Dow Jones & Co, publisher of the WSJ.

July 16/17 - A direct apology from Rupert Murdoch is carried in British national newspapers with the headline “We are sorry.”

July 17 - Detectives arrest Brooks.

-- Paul Stephenson, London’s police commissioner, resigns after coming under fire over the appointment of former News of the World deputy editor, Neil Wallis, as a public relations adviser to the force.

July 19 - Rupert Murdoch, questioned by parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports committee, says he was “shocked, appalled and ashamed” when he heard about the Dowler case. Murdoch denies he considers himself personally responsible. James Murdoch also appears before the committee. Brooks also joins her former bosses in apologizing.

July 20 - Parliament’s home affairs committee releases report criticizing News International’s attempts to “deliberately thwart” the original hacking investigation.

July 21 - Crone and Colin Myler, ex-editor of the News of the World, say James Murdoch’s statement to the committee -- that he had been unaware in 2008 of an e-mail that suggested wrongdoing was more widespread -- was mistaken.

Aug 10 - Murdoch endorses top lieutenant Chase Carey as the preferred choice to succeed him as News Corp CEO.

Oct 21 - Murdoch deflects attempts by investors to remove him as chairman of News Corp at the company’s annual meeting. He also retains his sons James and Lachlan as directors.

Oct 24 - Hinton appears before the parliamentary committee for a second time, saying he had not been complicit in a cover-up and that he had not realized the scale of the problem.

November 4 - Police arrest a 48-year-old in connection with payments made to police. Two company sources identify the man as Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt. The Sun is Britain’s largest circulation daily newspaper.

-- Police believe the number of people targeted for phone message eavesdropping is almost 5,800, some 2,000 more than originally thought.

November 7 - News International admits its staff ordered surveillance to be carried out on two lawyers representing victims suing the media group over the scandal.

November 8 - The News of the World paid former police officer Derek Webb to spy on Prince William, the parents of “Harry Potter” actor Daniel Radcliffe and a host of other high-profile people, the BBC says.

November 10 - James Murdoch, in a second appearance before the parliamentary committee, denies he misled parliament about the extent of his knowledge of hacking at News of the World. Murdoch blames other senior executives for not telling him more about potential evidence of widespread hacking.

-- Murdoch reiterates that Myler and Crone had not shown him the transcripts, contained in an email dubbed the “For Neville” email, and says Crone misled parliament.

-- Murdoch says that members of the committee of MPs had also been surveillance targets of the newspaper, and he apologizes “unreservedly” to Tom Watson, one of the targets.

November 14 - The public inquiry, chaired by Lord Leveson and set up by Cameron, begins its investigations into newspaper practices.

November 29 - Paul McMullan, a reporter at the News of the World tells a public inquiry that former editors of the newspaper, including Andy Coulson, were aware that phone-hacking was taking place at the tabloid.

November 30 - Police arrest a 31-year old woman as part of their inquiry into illegal telephone hacking. Industry sources say the woman is Bethany Usher, a former reporter at the News of the World.

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