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July 9, 2013

Exaro to hand over Murdoch tape to Elveden officers as Met launches probe into Sun chief’s comments

By Gavriel Hollander

The investigative journalism website that revealed details of a meeting between Rupert Murdoch and Sun journalists arrested in connection bribing public officials has agreed to hand the recordings to the police.

Detectives from Operation Elveden have launched a probe into whether Murdoch had knowledge of any illegal payments by journalists, according to Exaro News.

Scotland Yard originally asked Exaro to hand over what it described as the “Rupert Murdoch tape” last Friday. Exaro responded to the request by claiming that it had only kept two small audio clips of the meeting after it had transcribed the full recording, adding that all the evidence it had was available on its website.

Earlier this week, editor Mark Watts said the police would not be able to access anything “other than what we have put up [on the website].” He also tweeted that “unlike News International, we will not – under any circumstances – betray any confidential source.”

But today Exaro said it was “arranging to supply the evidence to Operation Elveden".

In a story published today, it said that a senior Elveden detective “made clear that the audio of Murdoch’s comments was relevant to its investigation because it “may contain evidence of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.”

On the tapes, Murdoch appears to suggest he was aware of payments made by reporters on his and other newspapers in return for information for stories.

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He described it as “the culture of Fleet Street”. Responding to a question from one of the arrested journalists about how long the practice had been going on, he added: We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops: that’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn’t instigate it.”

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