Matt Reinhard discusses the FCPA risks for News Corp. in light of a report that British prosecutors are considering criminal charges against four journalists, a police officer and six members of the public allegedly involved in the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. British prosecutors charging these individuals would make it less likely that U.S. authorities would bring charges related to the scandal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Reinhard said. "I suspect that, with regards to the FCPA at least, U.S. prosecutors have been taking a 'wait and see' attitude as to whether criminal charges would be brought in the UK before making any charging decisions here," he said. "If the U.S. authorities feel the 'bad actors' are being dealt with in the UK, they may decline to bring FCPA charges even if they might otherwise be supported." But, Reinhard noted, these criminal charges would not foreclose the chance of separate charges against News Corp. or News Corp. employees for actions taken within the U.S. outside of the FCPA's scope.
As for what the potential charges announced Wednesday mean in the context of the scandal, Reinhard predicted that "only time will tell" if these charges are just the “tip of the iceberg” in a larger investigation and prosecution, or if this is the final charging decision that is being made after a complete review. "U.K. authorities have arrested nearly 42 individuals in context with the scandal, but these reports suggest charges against only 11," Reinhard noted. "Is that all the evidence supports? Or are there more charges to come?"