Friday, March 9, 2012

#Leveson: #RUSSIA #Kanevsky Killing- #FBI Take A Look At Murdoch's Activities In Russia.

(Reuters) - An FBI investigation into possible criminal violations by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp of a U.S. law banning bribery of foreign officials has expanded to include an examination of the activities of former company holdings in Russia, according to a source close to the investigation.

As part of their inquiry, the FBI will seek to consult with Russian authorities, the source said.
While at this point it is not expected that a special FBI team will go to Russia to pursue the probe, the FBI's representative at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, known as the "legal attache," is likely to be involved, the source said.

The company's activities in Russia are being looked at as part of a broader FBI investigation into possible violations by News Corp of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - an inquiry fueled by allegations that journalists for Murdoch newspapers in Britain for years systematically made questionable payments to public servants, including police and military officials, in return for story tipoffs.

The goal of the FBI's inquiry in Russia is to see if there is evidence of a "pattern and practice" of legally-questionably activity across multiple News Corp properties "in more than one venue," said the source close to the inquiry.

A second source familiar with the inquiry said that just because the FBI was investigating FCPA issues did not mean U.S. charges will ever be brought. The source said the outcome of U.S. investigations is likely to be heavily influenced by the results of Scotland Yard investigations in Britain.

A spokesman for Murdoch's News Corp in New York declined to comment.

In a written statement, News Outdoor Russia, the country's largest billboard company, in which Murdoch held a controlling interest until last summer, said that it had no first hand information about any FBI investigation.

"With reference to recent reports appearing in the media that within the scope of the investigation into News Corp. operations, the FBI is inquiring about cases of corruption in News Outdoor Russia, the Company states that it has received neither verbal nor written communications from the FBI. Neither has the Company received inquiries from Russian law enforcement agencies," the company said.

News Outdoor added that it "has and continues to operate in accordance with the laws of jurisdictions relevant to its operation, including those applicable to Russian operating companies and subsidiaries of U.S. listed publicly-traded companies."

Information that the FBI investigation had expanded to Russia first surfaced earlier this week in a story published by the Wall Street Journal, now part of Murdoch's global empire. The paper said the inquiry was focused on whether on News Outdoor Russia, had paid bribes to local officials in return for permission to install billboards at choice more