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MP quizzes Murdoch over 'hacking'

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has been challenged over alleged computer hacking at a News Corporation shareholders meeting.

Labour MP Tom Watson fired questions at the 80-year-old company chairman during the 90-minute gathering in Los Angeles. He asked Mr Murdoch if he knew that a person who had left prison was hired by News Corporation and hacked the computer of a former army intelligence officer.

Mr Murdoch said he was not aware of this but pledged to investigate, saying: "I promise you absolutely that we will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of this and put it right."

Mr Watson, who went to the shareholders meeting representing shares owned by the labour group AFL-CIO, has played a key part in the Select Committee probe into phone hacking.

He revealed no further details about who was implicated in the alleged computer hacking, but told Mr Murdoch: "News Corp is potentially facing a Mulcaire II."

This referred to private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was employed by the News of the World and was jailed along with the tabloid's royal editor Clive Goodman for intercepting the voicemails of royal aides.

Mr Murdoch and his sons were re-elected to the company's board of directors and a proposal to oust him as chairman was rejected.

The intervention by Mr Watson came as Mr Murdoch said he donated £1 million to charities chosen by Milly Dowler's family to underscore his regret for the "abhorrent" hacking of the murdered schoolgirl's phone.

On top of Mr Murdoch's private donation, News International confirmed it was paying the Dowler family £2 million in settlement of their civil claim over the illegal interception of Milly's voicemail messages after she went missing in 2002.

Mr Murdoch said: "When I met with the Dowlers in July, I expressed how deeply sorry I was for the hurt we had caused this family. The behaviour that the News of the World exhibited towards the Dowlers was abhorrent and I hope this donation underscores my regret for the company's role in this awful event. I also hope that through the personal donation something positive can be done in memory of their daughter."


From Belfast Telegraph