July 24, 2012 / 12:05 PM / 7 years ago

Timeline - News Corp and the phone-hacking scandal

(Reuters) - Here are the major events in the phone-hacking scandal at News Corporation.

July 4, 2011 - A lawyer for the family of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler says police have told him her voicemail messages were hacked in 2002, possibly by a News of the World investigator. The disclosure comes days after Britain gives its backing for News Corp to buy out British pay-TV group BSkyB. Three days later News Corp announces it will close the News of the World. The July 10 edition is the last.

July 13 - News Corp withdraws its bid for BSkyB. This pre-empts a planned vote in parliament. Tom Crone, legal manager at News International, resigns.

July 15 - Rebekah Brooks, a former News of the World editor, resigns as chief executive of News International. Les Hinton, who as executive chairman of News International told parliament in 2009 that any problem with hacking had been limited to one case, resigns as chief executive of Murdoch’s Dow Jones & Co, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

July 19 - Rupert Murdoch, questioned by parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports committee, says he was “shocked, appalled and ashamed” when he heard about the Dowler case. James Murdoch and Brooks are also questioned. Two days later, Crone and Colin Myler, ex-editor of the News of the World, say James Murdoch’s statement to the committee had been mistaken in saying he had been unaware in 2008 of an email that suggested wrongdoing was more widespread.

November 14 - A public inquiry, chaired by Lord Leveson, begins its investigations into media ethics.

March 13, 2012 - James Murdoch, in a letter, apologises to those affected by the hacking scandal but says he was let down by senior staff on whom he had relied. He severs all ties with News Corp’s British newspaper business on March 24 and resigns as chairman of BSkyB on April 3.

May 1 - A report by the parliamentary committee says that Rupert Murdoch is not fit to head a major company and should take responsibility for the culture of illegal phone hacking. It also finds that his son, James, showed an “astonishing” lack of curiosity, raising questions about his competence.

May 10 - Coulson, former News of the World editor, appears at the Leveson inquiry and says Cameron’s Conservative Party had asked few questions about his past not carried out full security checks. Rebekah Brooks appears on May 11 and provides colourful details of her friendships with the cream of British politics.

May 15 - Brooks is charged with interfering with a police investigation into a phone hacking scandal. The charges against Brooks, her husband and four others are the first since police re-launched an investigation into alleged illegal practices at Murdoch’s British newspapers. Brooks makes a preliminary appearance in a London court on June 13.

July 24 - Prosecutors say Coulson and Brooks are to be charged with phone-hacking offences, as well as six other senior former News of the World journalists and staff.

Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Mark Heinrich

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