Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation caught hacking voicemail systems for information now faces its greatest risks under the U.S. government laws against foreign corruption. Those risks could include massive fines, jail time for various individuals and enhanced jail time for obstruction of justice.
The 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits American companies and citizens from paying or offering to pay foreign officials to obtain or retain business. Because News International is a subsidiary of the United States company owned by Mrudoch, and News Corp is traded in the US, US authorities have jurisdiction here. The US Justice Department could name individuals in its investigation and lawsuit and the charges could result in severe sanctions including jail time. Police are examining claims that News International may have expunged millions of emails from archives, which could also lead to obstruction of justice charges in this country.