By Gautham Nagesh - 07/19/11 07:07 PM EDT
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch denied any knowledge of voice mail hacking at his now-shuttered tabloid News of the World and told British lawmakers at a Tuesday hearing that he has been humbled by the ongoing scandal enveloping his media empire.
Murdoch and his son James Murdoch were questioned by members of the House of Commons after reports the British tabloid breached voice mail accounts and bribed law enforcement officials in pursuit of stories. Murdoch closed the paper last Sunday.
The Murdochs condemned the incidents and denied any knowledge of the allegations. Rupert Murdoch also said that despite reports that victims of the Sept. 11 attack had their voice mails hacked, there has been no evidence showing that, adding that he didn't believe it took place.
U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called for the FBI to investigate those allegations; Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday confirmed that the Justice Department is investigating the issue. There have been calls for the Securities and Exchange Commission to join the probe.
Rupert Murdoch said he doesn't feel personally responsible for the phone hacking carried out by employees, choosing to blame "the people I trusted and the people they trusted." He noted the tabloid accounted for less than 1 percent of his media empire.
James Murdoch admitted News Corp. reached an out-of-court settlement in excess of $1 million with English soccer executive Gordon Taylor over illegal voice mail interception. He said his father only learned of the settlement after it was made.
News International CEO Rebakah Brooks, who served as News of the World editor at the time of the alleged incidents, was arrested by British authorities on Sunday in connection to the scandal. One of the country's most prominent journalists, Brooks's arrest dominated headlines in the U.K. on Monday.
Brooks appeared after Murdoch before the Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport and denied any knowledge of voice mail hacking or payments to officials.
Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton has also resigned; Hinton served as News International executive chairman during the alleged phone hacking. James Murdoch said he had no evidence that Brooks or Hinton did anything wrong.