FBI may quiz Murdoch firm over bribe claim

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FBI may quiz Murdoch firm over bribe claim

London, March 7 (IANS) The US investigating agency FBI is likely to quiz Rupert Murdoch's firm as it investigates whether a Russian billboard company once owned by his News Corp bribed local officials for getting sign placements approved, the Daily Express reported.

The move is part of a growing probe of Murdoch's company that stems from the phone-hacking scandal in Britain.

According to sources within the federal agency, the FBI will examine operations at the former subsidiary News Outdoor Russia.

Investigators are trying to establish whether there is a pattern of bribery and corruption at News Corp outlets abroad, they said.

A spokesman for the company in New York declined to comment, and an FBI spokesman also declined.

News Corp sold its 79 percent stake in News Outdoor Russia, along with a similar business in Romania, for a combined 229 million pounds last July. But the sale does not prevent US agencies from fining the company for profits reaped in the past through bribes.

In cases, in the past, where it has found wrongdoing, the Justice Department has gone to court to secure fines of up to double the amount of illicitly gained revenue.

According to US legal sources, authorities can bring a civil complaint against the company and criminal charges against executives up to five years after alleged wrongdoing.

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