Barry Pollack discusses the US Department of Justice's probe into allegations that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp sought to hack into the phones of September 11 victims. According to Pollack, "Murdoch could face criminal charges in the US such as violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, illegal wiretapping, mail or wire fraud, securities fraud, racketeering and conspiracy. He could also face civil lawsuits from the SEC as well as from private litigants, such as shareholders in News Corp or competitors of the company." Pollack also comments on the company's embattled in-house legal team, which is missing a group general counsel. "News Corp has already gone on a hiring spree for a high profile outside counsel in the US who can carry out the role of conducting an ‘independent' investigation and be the company's legal spokespeople in negotiations with US law enforcement," Pollack says. "While plainly News Corp will need to replenish its in-house counsel ranks in a hurry, it will be the external counsel acting inconjunction with the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors who will be making the ultimate decisions going forward."
Pollack speculates that News Corp will try its best to settle any lawsuits that are likely to occur in the US. "They [the lawsuits in the US] will be hugely time-consuming and expensive but ultimately they will be settled to end the drain on resources. The bottom line is that News Corp will want this sorry chapter of its corporate history to end as quickly as possible," Pollack says.