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{jb_dropcap}No, there is no major news about the three major investigations into multiple phone and computer hacking, bribing police officials, or perverting the course of justice by News International in the the UK. Nor is there any major development in the DOJ investigation into the parent company Newscorp, for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or other examples of systemic criminality (RICO violations) like the Floorgraphics case. No, the simple stunning verdict on the Murdoch Dynasty has been delivered by Newscorps Shareholders

Shareholders Deliver a Damning Verdict on James and Lachlan Murdoch


As handsomely diaried by Ceebs, last Friday's Newscorp shareholders meeting, held in high security in LA rather than in New York, was still a tumultuous affair, with many of independent shareholders calling the management to task over issues of corporate governance, probity, possible further legal actions, and of course the underlying complaint that Rupert Murdoch treats the public corporation like a 'family candy store'. Usually as Murdoch's biographer Michael Wolff explains in a tellingly titled piece: Rupert Murdoch: News Corp's great dictator on the brink

Under normal circumstances, Rupert Murdoch doesn't have much patience for the annual shareholders' meetings that are required by law of American public companies. He regards them as a farce, because they cannot change the outcome in a company where a voting majority is secure, and as an exercise in liberal corporate law designed to put him personally on the spot.

This time it was different. This time the voices couldn't be ignored, and they were joined by the stalwart British Parliamentarian, Tom Watson, initially a victim and now a persistent campaigner against both the industrial scale phone hacking in the UK (among other illegal practices) and the coverup. The vote was supposed to be delivered here last week. Now you can see the reason for the delay. Pegasus Corporate Governance has just tweeted the independent votes:

2011 AGM James Murdoch: For 59,297,033 (19.23%), Against 232,013,203 (75.24%) Abstain 494,831 Non-Votes 16,564,060
2011 AGM Lachlan Murdoch: For 67,175,479 (21.78%), Against 224,151,616 (72.69%) Abstain 477,972 Non-Votes 16,564,060

It doesn't constitute a majority since, though only owning 10 percent of the shares, the Murdoch family have 40 percent of the voting rights. But this is like Thatcher winning the first round of the votes in 1990 - not by a big enough margin. She was holed in the water. The vote of non confidence is resounding. As the Guardian puts it:

James Murdoch's future at News Corporation looks increasingly precarious as shareholders delivered a damning verdict on his tenure amid widespread criticism of his handling of the hacking scandal. Following a contentious meeting in Los Angeles last week News Corporation shareholders lodged a massive protest vote against James and his brother Lachlan Murdoch. A majority of independent shareholders voted against the re-election of chairman Rupert Murdoch's sons James and Lachlan Murdoch. James Murdoch received the largest vote against his re-election at 35%. James, 38, faces a second grilling in the Parliament next month over phone-hacking at The News of The World, one of News Corp's UK newspapers. Some 34% of shareholders voted against Lachlan Murdoch 40. After subtracting the shares controlled by Rupert Murdoch, 67% of the votes went against James Murdoch and 64% against Lachlan, said Julie Tanner, assistant director of News Corp investor Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), who last week called for Rupert Murdoch to step down as chairman after the "extraordinary scandals" at the company. "Shareholders are saying loud and clear that this board has failed as a group," she said.
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Over the course of these diaries, both myself and other FOTHOM aficianados have tried to stress that the UK hacking scandal is just one indication of the corrupt and anti-competitive practices that characterise the modal monopoly of Newscorp. Now another scandal is breaking which, like the looming shareholder rebellion, allegations of satellite card hacking in Italy and the Floorgraphics case prove once again that - like Watergate - the current scandal being investigated by no less than three large scale police operations in the UK, is only the tip of the iceberg, and that RICO violations are the best way for the current DOJ investigation to go.

Now the Wall Street Journal has news of the resignation of one of its chief executives:

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Links and Contact Details

Live Tweeting

Over the last few years I've created some attention with my live coverage of the phone hacking trial in London, the most expensive and longest concluded criminal trial in British history. There are various accounts and articles about this on the web, including a radio play. My Twitter feed can be found here, and a collation of evidence from the trial, and all my live tweets, can be found at my Fothom Wordpress blog. There's also a Flipboard magazine and a Facebook Page. My Klout ranking is here.

More Journalism and Books

Various journalistic articles of mine are scattered throughout the web. There's some kind of portfolio at Muckrack. The most extensive reporting is for the Daily Beast and Newsweek, but there's more at the New Statesman, the New Republic, Aeon etc. I have two non fiction books published in the last year: The Fall of the House of Murdoch, available through Unbound or Amazon, and Beyond Contempt: the Inside Story of the Phone Hacking Trial, available via Canbury Press or also on Amazon. I am currently contributing to a new site for open source journalism, called Bellingcat, and advisor (along with Sir Harry Evans and Bill Emmott) to an exciting new crowdfunded journalism startip Byline

Getting in Contact

My generic email is my first name at peterjukes.com. That should get through to me pretty quickly. My Linked In profile is here. For non journalistic inquiries, for television stage and film, contact Howard Gooding at Judy Daish Associates. Examples of my television work can be found on IMDB. This links to the site for my forthcoming musical, Mrs Gucci. My radio plays can be found in various audiobook formats on Amazon and elsewhere.

 

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