Lachlan Murdoch’s $13.3m payout

21st Century Fox and News Corp shareholders will have to pay $A13.3 million as their share of a $A40 million settlement to stop their new co-chairman, Lachlan Murdoch, from being sued for breach of director’s duties at the failed One.Tel. It’s almost exactly a year since News Corp agreed to pay $US139 million to settle an unrelated damages claim that directors harmed shareholders by letting Rupert Murdoch as chairman use the company as “his personal fiefdom”.

Some background to the latest payout: In 2005, the then compliance director of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, Jan Redfern, was questioned over documents which showed her staff believed that neither James Packer nor Lachlan Murdoch had a good understanding for what directors were required to do, with a suggestion she herself was “keen” to bring actions against Lachlan and James for breach of directors’ duties. She denied this. Instead ASIC pursued One.Tel executives including CEO Jodee Rich with assistance from PBL and News Corp. The action settled this week was brought by the One.Tel liquidator.

Transcript of questioning by David Williams SC (for Jodee Rich) of Jan Redfern of ASIC in the NSW Supreme Court on November 24 2004. Continue reading

Commander Ray Adams’ mystery year

In the two days that it took to erase all known records of Operation Othona—to shred the surveillance logs, witness statements, listening device records, photographs and informant contact sheets, to sledge hammer the videos, computer drives and tape records, in short to bludgeon the history of one of the London Metropolitan’s Police’s largest corruption investigation into oblivion in 2001, the mood among those who had been targets of the inquiry must have been exultant. Continue reading

Apple Sales International’s plummeting Irish tax rate

When I wrote my  Financial Review piece on how $A8.9 billion of Apple’s Australian sales revenue from 2002-2013 ended up as profit with Apple Sales International, I hadn’t noticed that Apple pays more tax in Australia than it pays in Ireland.

In Ireland, from 2002 to 2011, Apple Sales International reported $US 45.6 billion profit, on which it paid $US63.2 million tax. Over the decade the tax rate didn’t just drop. It broke the sound barrier on the way down. These are ASI’s year by year earnings over the decade: Continue reading

Confessions of a conspiracy theorist

(Please don’t try this at home)


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Journalists are often accused of being obsessive, irresponsible, badly supervised, out of control, obsessive again, prone to ka-razy conspiracy theories, ornery, really bad dressers, mouth breathers, showing poor table manners and did I mention something about wretched conspiracists?

Into every life a little criticism must fall. For example in my case here, here and here from News Corp. Also behind the News Corp paywall, here and here. And that’s just in the last week, triggered by this modest effort by me on page 8 of the AFR. Continue reading

How I started following Rupert Murdoch

REALLY bad career moves? I’ve got it completely covered.

Decyphering Rupert Murdoch is like doing a cryptic crossword. You either get this stuff or you don’t. His influence on world media, and the power that gives him, is so pervasive that keeping track of his latest moves is a legitimate, and I believe important, exercise. It’s a job, it’s a story, it’s nothing personal. But in such a pursuit, one thing is clear: you need to put your own personal history clearly on the table.

I almost worked for Rupert Murdoch. For ten minutes I regarded myself as virtually on the staff. Continue reading