News Corp. faces new Russia bribery scandal

Jeff Tyler Mar 7, 2012

Bob Moon:Trouble may have jumped the Pond for Rupert Murdoch. At the same time his British media company is taking heat for a bribery scandal comes word that U.S. based News Corp. is under investigation for the actions of a one-time subsidiary.

Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler explains.

Jeff Tyler: A law enforcement official confirms the FBI is investigating News Corp. for alleged bribery by a former subsidiary. Employees at the Russian billboard company are suspected of bribing officials to get signs placed. News Corp. declined to comment. If the company is found to have violated American laws against bribery overseas, it could threaten News Corp.’s U.S. broadcast licenses.

Steve Effros is a media consultant.

Steve Effros: Those are issues that could be raised in a license renewal proceeding here.

But he says the chances are slim that the Federal Communications Commission would revoke the licenses. Still, the fallout of these investigations could have other repercussions.

Porter Bibb is with Media Tech Capital Partners.

Porter Bibb: It also could lead eventually to the breaking-up of News Corp.

Bibb says some News Corp. shareholders want to split the company, separating sports and entertainment from news and publishing. The bribery scandal could provide the leverage needed to orchestrate a break-up.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.