Police took £2k payment from News Corp subsidiary

Surrey Police has confirmed receiving a £2,000 “charitable donation” from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp subsidiary NDS.

Yesterday it was confirmed that NDS was being investigated by media watchdog Ofcom over claims it ‘helped to hasten the demise’of SkyB’s one-time rival ITV Digital.

On Monday BBC’s Panorama claimed NDS, a London-based company that secialised in satellite television technology, leaked codes that could have been used to create counterfeit smart cards for the now defunct ITV Digital.

Surrey Police said had abided by Home Office codes of practice when it accepted the payment from NDS, which was used for new equipment including laptop computers.

NDS told Tthe Independent the money handed over in 2000 was a ‘charitable donation’and that it was not aware of any other payments from the company.

A force spokesman said: ‘Following a review of our records, Surrey Police can confirm a payment of £2,000 from NDS was received in 2000. Records show that this money was received as sponsorship for equipment including laptop computers.

“At the time, staff were encouraged to consider sponsorship and a total of £46,700 was recorded by the force that year from a range of organisations including gas and water suppliers and town councils.

“These contributions were used for a variety of purposes such as providing vehicles for local police teams, education programmes and partnership/community projects.

“Under the Home Office financial management code of practice, it is acceptable for forces to receive sponsorship to assist in the furtherance of policing initiatives.

“At present this is the only payment from NDS that the force is aware of; however, inquiries are still ongoing into this matter.”

Yesterday News Corp strongly denied the claims made by Panorama, with Murdoch tweeting: ‘Seems every competitor and enemy piling on with lies and libels. So bad, easy to hit back hard, which preparing.”

In a later tweet he added: ‘Enemies many different agendas, but worst old toffs and right wingers who still want last century’s status quo with their monoplies [sic].”

The company’s chief operating officer Chase Carey said the programme was a ‘gross misrepresentation of NDS’s role as a high quality and leading provider of technology and services to the pay-TV industry, as are many of the other press accounts that have piled on – if not exaggerated – the BBC’s inaccurate claims”.

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