Hinton: MPs' claims 'unfair, unfounded and erroneous'

Claims that Les Hinton misled the culture committee on phone-hacking are ‘unfair, unfounded and erroneous”, according to the former News International executive chairman.

Hinton was accused of misleading the committee and displaying ‘selective amnesia’in his ‘startlingly vague’evidence on the series of payouts made to former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman after his phone-hacking conviction in 2007.

The committee also found he was ‘complicit in the cover-up at News International’over the phone-hacking scandal.

Today Hinton issued a rebuttal of the allegations in a letter send to the committee’s chairman John Whittingdale, in which he claims its findings were ‘based on a misreading of evidence, and on a selective and misleading analysis of my testimonies to your committee”.

He went on to claim the report’s conclusions ‘rest on a highly selective reading of the record, and unsupportable leaps in logic and inference”, adding: ‘There is nothing credible … to suggest that I was anything but candid with the committee”.

Hinton contends that he was clear about his role in authorising the pay-off to Goodman, and said there was “nothing novel or sinister” about the process.

‘It is hard to avoid the view that the committee has sometimes allowed preconceived judgments to cloud its objectivity and sense of fairness,’he said.

Hinton worked with News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch for 52 years, and ran News International between 1997-2005, before resigning as chief executive of Dow Jones last summer it the wake of the hacking scandal

In today’s letter he also criticised the way the committee went about gathering evidence for its report: ‘I question the basic fairness of a process that provides witnesses with no advance warning of detailed questions concerning matters years earlier only to be publicly condemned for failing to remember, having no opportunity to review and respond to the charges, and no recourse to challenge the grave charges laid against them.’

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