HACKGATE DAY 296: Is James Murdoch going to make a run for it?

If the UK authorities are serious, they should confiscate James Murdoch’s passport

I waver back and forth in my judgement of James Murdoch. While there is no doubt at all in my mind that he is a mendaci0us freak, I cannot make my mind up as to whether – given the current outlook for Rupe’s son – he is simply brazen, very stupid, or both. As an excellent piece in today’s IoS from the irrepressible Matt Chorley points out, our James

‘….will this week face fresh questions from a parliamentary inquiry into News International’s financial links to Rebekah Brooks, who resigned at the height of the phone-hacking scandal. Mr Murdoch’s reappearance at the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is expected to be dominated by doubts cast on his earlier claims not to have known about the extent of phone hacking at News of the World….’

However, unless Tom Watson has been bagged by the Bodysnatchers over the last few weeks, I doubt very much if Murdoch the Younger will be allowed to retire from his next CM&S session without explaining why Rebekah Redtop received a £1.7m payout, a chauffeur-driven car and a central London office as part of her go-forth-and-do-not-darken etc etc clear-out of all the hitherto undiscovered wicked elements within Newscorp. It also seems, by the way, that La Brooks has been told she will one day be able to return to the company, maybe even in as little as two years from now.

Now if you were James Murdoch Top Banana with a Clark Kent-style zero tolerance policy towards ethical anti-matter, isn’t bringing the Princess of Depravity back a bit like having a cancer implant? It’s a rhetorical question, to which the answer is obvious. But of course, ZTP has become the bollocks of choice for every evil multinational organisation over the last decade. Thinking this through at even the most superficial level it is hard to escape the conclusion that flame-haired Rebekah has some pretty serious dirt on the Murdochs.

And evil is as evil does. James Murdoch and his cryogenically preserved Dad not only face pretty serious charges over here, they face far more serious charges in the US, where corporate turpitude is a much easier offence to prove. The Murdoch twin-shares arrangement to their public companies can keep them in power, but it can’t keep them out of jail. Now that the FBI is on James’s case (as the CEO in America, he is personally responsible for the Mafiaesque behaviour of his forceful subsidiaries) it is, I suspect, only a matter of time before the US and UK Governments are arguing about nothing more than who gets the first shot at this obnoxious young man. (Rupert’s age alone, I would argue, probably guarantees his safety from prison).

 Tom Watson himself told told The Observer this weekend, “It is remarkably curious that such a generous package is given to Ms Brooks when others have been cut loose. It is almost as if she hasn’t really left … I am sure Mr Murdoch will want to explain the decision to his shareholders.” Indeed, only today a person with knowledge of all matters BSkyB told me that “[James] Murdoch’s chances of remaining Chairman [of BSkyB] are waning daily”.
But what is truly, deeply, remarkably curious is that Jimbo keeps having to explain all these hypocrisies and lies to shareholders and Parliamentary Committees…and yet not to Akers of the Yard. Way back in April this year, when David Cameron still felt Andy Coulson should not have to suffer twice for things he knew nothing about, The Slog asked when exactly MetroPlod might get round to feeling his collar. Gradually and grudgingly, they did. Six months on, I am having the same problem with James Murdoch’s continued freedom.
As it happens, last Wednesday I spoke to a US-based legal boffin on the subject of high-profile cases like these. He offered the opinion, off the record, that James Murdoch will go to jail. Now, I have to believe that much more formal and expensive advice is equally available to the man who was the Murdoch heir – but of late, no longer is. I posted some time ago to the effect that the patriarch’s most favoured son had been shifted by Dad to the US in the hope that his residency there might ensure his freedom. But what is to be done now that JM faces prosecution in both countries?
In such circumstances, it is entirely valid to ask whether we can really trust James Murdoch. Because let’s be real here, the temptation for Murdoch Jr to make a break for it must be increasingly urgent.
A Vanity Fair piece last week alleged that Rupert Murdoch and his daughter Liz think James should ‘take leave’, but it’s unclear from the story what precisely they mean by this. For while this might seem at first sight like melodrama, neither The Slog nor most of the legal-business community on either side of the Pond can see the exit route from this corner for Murdoch’s son.
So if needs dictated, where might he go? There’s not much choice.
If he wanted to escape UK justice, James could simply go home to Australia…although he doesn’t sound very Australian these days. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t work for US justice. In fact, the only halfway civilised place I can find that has no extradition treaty with either the US or the UK is….the Maldives. There are few places more threatened by human presence and alleged climate change than the Maldives. And as it happens, James is something of a climate change hawk.
“All of the climate prediction models suggest we’re on the worst-case trajectory, and some cases worse than the worst case,” he
told The Observer in 2009. That same year, he talked up the benefits of “a gradual cap on carbon pollution” in a Washington
Post piece entitled “Clean energy is a conservative cause.” His wife,Kathryn Hufschmid Murdoch, is a climate hawk too. She has worked and served as an advisory board member at the Clinton Climate Initiative, and she’s on the board of the US Environmental Defence Fund. “Climate change is the most urgent global issue facing humankind,” she wrote in 2007.
To be more serious in closing, the power of the Murdochs (and their retained knowledge of buried body locations) would obviously suggest some kind of plea bargain, with comfort letters placed in deposit boxes behind closed vaults. But even so, any Met Police  base-covering after James Murdoch’s impending CM&S testimony this week should surely include a token arrest warrant and the confiscation of his passport.
Let’s see what happens.

17 thoughts on “HACKGATE DAY 296: Is James Murdoch going to make a run for it?

  1. $100 million placed in Obama’s reelection slush fund plus the promise of support from FoxNews should be enough to prevent any Murdoch’s going to the Big House. Our conflicted government will, as usual, look to the head office in Washington for their guidance. Pathetic!

  2. Yes indeed John, it will be very interesting to observe which measures are used in the Murdoch case. To paraphrase the post on Twitter back in August, Why is the fast-track justice system, being applied to the London rioters, not being used against the Hackgate mob? No slow grinding wheels of justice then, it was all pdq. Poor James, I suggest with his financial clout, he should contact Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and together they could purchase a small part of Venezuala and set up home together. Or consult with the Vatican City, they’re experts in squirreling away fugitives of the law. Ms. Redneck Wade could interrupt her world cruise to visit and keep them up to date. Plus which questions (on oath) will be asked of Call me Dave and Boy George, who have been disingenuous, to say the least, about their personal involvement in the whole sordid affair? When will the bell toll?

  3. Well, we’ve seen a lot of arrests in the UK — but no one charged.
    We’ve seen NI pay out lotsa $$$ to hacking victims — but no one charged.

    I believe Akers of The Yard is walking on a minefield. All the key players are there — the big fish — but each time she goes to grab one and haul them off, she finds they’re cable connected to a landmine. The landmines have nameplates on, Cameron, Brown, Major Political Parties, MI5, MI6, Shady Security Services, Met Police and surely other people/agencies of the State. If she yanks one of the players away with force ie The Law, the attached landmine will go off and she then becomes a paid up member of the walking dead.

  4. Another country James can go to : Israel. His father is reported to be a citizen, maybe honorary. No extradition from there. Maybe he can buy French citizenship or Russian. Neither extradite their nationals. Willing to take a bet he never serves anytime.

    • Yes, Israel is quite popular. Lady Porter of Westminster Council fame shot off there after a corruption court judgement against her.

      • @Julian: Indeed. Maxwell’s death remains an odd mystery. I never believed he killed himself due to his grotesque psychopathic character.

  5. I suspect that nothing will happen to any of them, I would suggest that it is a case of ” Not who you know but, what you know about them”
    I have to also add that the lack of any moral compass is again astonishing, as JW has made clear they are all crooked.
    Things do need to change, just how those changes will come about well, who knows..?

  6. Great Blog John, thanks.
    Liz O’Donnell is really on the money, why so slow??
    James could maybe just get on that cruise ship that never stops!
    Like you, I am not holding my breath to see James & Rupe do the perp walk.
    G

  7. As I suggested a couple of months ago,the answer to the Murdoch mafia’s problem is to enfranchise the non voters(which roughly doubles their economic interest in Newscorp),take the applause for ‘a new era of corporate governance’,see what the US and UK law authorities can come up with(not much in a court of law),and if the worse comes to the worse,buy a mega yacht.

  8. A reliable source tells me that another James whose father also packed a heavy punch in the Aussie media scene, has a very low opinion of Jimmy Murdock’s ability to know which day of the week it is. This other James once partnered Lachie in a dot com caper, the failure of which really angered both Lachie’s dad and James’ “pack a punch” dad. In part its why Lachie doesn’t spend as much time at NI as he once did.

    My informant also tells me that “pack a punch” James, who has sold most of his media assets to focus on his gambling assets, would put his money on Liz, if for no other reason than she built Shine TV & Film and then offered it to NI – Rupe was so pleased he bought it. My informant suspects that Wendy would have had to approve of that transaction.

    Another way to bang up Jimmy Murdock would be to run a false flag op to link him with the other Aussie in strife, then smuggle him off to Sweden and render him unto Gitmo – no extradition there either.

  9. Pingback: HACKGATE DAY 301: Why I keep looking for Dean Martin on the CM&S committee | The Slog

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