U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday the Department of Justice would launch an investigation of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire at News Corporation, to determine if anyone at the company attempted to spy on or bribe American citizens or officials.
“There have been members of Congress in the United States who have asked us to investigate those same allegations and we are progressing in that regard using the appropriate federal law enforcement agencies,” Holder told reporters during a news conference in Australia.
The announcement follows yesterday’s confirmation of a U.S. government probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which told Raw Story they were “looking into” the matter following an Associated Press based on anonymous sources.
“We’ll be looking at anyone acting for or on behalf of News Corp., from the top down to janitors,” a senior law enforcement official reportedly told CNN, adding that the probe is a “high priority” for the department.
The probe will focus on whether News Corp. employees in the U.K. targeted the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack in their phone hacking schemes, which allegedly included an effort to bribe a former New York police officer.
News Corp. employees are also alleged to have bribed British police officers to help them hack high ranking U.K. officials, which would violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act if proven to be true.
News of the probe comes the same day British police arrested a former News Corp. executive in connection to the hacking schemes. There have been nine arrests so far.
Other targets of the company’s British newspapers allegedly included former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the royal family, celebrities, a murder victim, the families of dead soldiers and the victims of terrorist attacks, among others.
Officials in Australia, where Murdoch is a citizen, said they too were considering whether to launch an investigation of News Corp.
Correction: There have been nine arrests in the News Corp. scandal thus far.