Pension Fund Files News Corp. Shareholder Lawsuit Over Hacking Allegations

Amid phone hacking probes, allegations, and legal actions, another lawsuit has been filed against the chairman and CEO of News Corp., K. Rupert Murdoch, and other directors at the media conglomerate. According to Pensions and Investments Online, the Massachusetts Laborers’ Pensions and Annuity Funds filed the lawsuit seeking recovery of “millions of dollars” in losses.

The <"">News Corp. shareholder lawsuit also seeks to improve “corporate governance” over the alleged “mismanagement and breaches of fiduciary duty” revealed as part of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, added Pensions and Investments Online. The lawsuit was filed on July 15th and accuses Rupert Murdoch and the board of “failure to take any action to investigate, control, and limit the fallout from the hacking scandal” that “caused the company to lose billions of dollars in value,” wrote Pensions and Investments, citing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes just weeks after the Central Laborers Pension Fund of Jacksonville, Illinois; the New Orleans City Employees’ Retirement System; and Amalgamated Bank amended a prior lawsuit filed March 17 against News Corp. directors, said Pensions and Investments Online. That lawsuit accused the firm of nepotism. The complaint, amended on July 8, involves institutional investors accusing Rupert Murdoch and his firm’s directors of breach of fiduciary oversight and corporate governance failures related to the phone hacking debacle. The complaint also alleges that the plaintiffs suffered losses of “hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions” in shareholder value, stated court documents, wrote Pensions and Investments Online.

Both lawsuits were filed in Delaware Chancery Court before Judge John W. Noble and seek to recover losses as a result of the scandal. Recovery proceeds will be reinvested back into the firm, said Pensions and Investments Online.

In related news, we recently wrote that the U.S. Justice Department is preparing subpoenas as part of its News Corp. hacking investigation. The FBI is investigating allegations that News of the World, a News Corp.-owned British tabloid may have attempted to hack voicemails belonging to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Justice Department is also trying to determine if alleged bribes paid to British police officials, in connection with the hacking charges, could constitute a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it a crime for a U.S. company to bribe officials overseas.

Reporters from the tabloid, News of the World, are known to have hacked into phone voicemails belonging to thousands of people, including those of a teenage murder victim, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and scores of celebrities. Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, were recently forced to testify before a committee of the British Parliament.

U.S. investigators are also said to be looking into previous allegations of hacking by another News Corp division that were made in 2004. At the time, News America Marketing, News. Corp’s advertising division, was accused of repeatedly hacking into the computers of a competitor, New Jersey-based Floorgraphics, in an alleged attempt to steal its business.

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