News Corp shares plummet in Aussie trade

Shares in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation plummeted more than five per cent in early Australian trade today as the phone hacking scandal continued to hurt the global company's image.

At 11:20 am (1320 NZT), its shares on the Australian Stock Exchange were 5.69 per cent lower at A$13.93 having lost more than 11 per cent last week.

The plunge came as the scandal surrounding Australian-born Murdoch's media empire continued to escalate with Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Murdoch's British newspaper wing, arrested on Sunday.

She was questioned for 12 hours over allegations she conspired to intercept communications and that the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, of which she was editor, paid police for stories.

At the same time, Britain's top police officer resigned due to speculation about his links to Murdoch's empire and the force's botched investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World.

The 80-year-old media baron has been called to testify before a full public inquiry in Britain announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, which will examine phone hacking and links between politicians and the press.

Murdoch's son, James, and Brooks have also been summoned and Cameron has warned that anyone found guilty of wrongdoing could be barred from future roles in Britain's media.


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