LONDON - News Corp. executive James Murdoch's behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign spilled out into the public domain Tuesday, casting a harsh light on the British government's Olympics czar.
Murdoch was speaking before the media-ethics inquiry set up in the aftermath of the country's phone-hacking scandal, which has shaken the British establishment with revelations of journalistic misdeeds, police corruption, and corporate malpractice.
Some of Murdoch's testimony revisited his own role in the scandal, but far more explosive were revelations about how senior British ministers went out of their way to smooth the path for one of his biggest-ever business deals.
Particularly damning was correspondence showing how Olympics czar Jeremy Hunt secretly backed Murdoch's multibillion-dollar bid for full control of satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group P.L.C. As the minister charged with deciding whether to refer the takeover deal to Britain's competition authority, Hunt was meant to have been neutral.