The FBI confirmed that it has launched a probe against News International after it was revealed yesterday that News of the World reporters may have hacked into the voicemail of actor Jude Law while he was on U.S. soil, The Telegraph reported today.
Yesterday, the News Corp. subsidiary settled with 37 alleged phone hacking victims, including Law (who received £130,000, or around $200,000, plus legal costs), his ex-wife Sadie Frost, assistant Ben Jackson and publicist Clara Parkes. Although News International would not admit to having illegally hacked into the victims’ voicemails, it proceeded with the settlements under the assumption that the hacking claims were true.
In a statement, Law said that News International admitted to having repeatedly broken into his voicemail between January 2003 and August 2006, and that the illegally obtained information was used in 16 separate articles. One of those stories, published in the News of the World in September 2003, may have included information taken from phone calls that Law’s assistant, Jackson, made to Law after arriving at JFK Airport in New York. If Law’s phone was on a U.S. mobile network at the time, the hacking could be punishable under U.S. law, according to the Telegraph.
In a statement, an FBI spokesperson said, “We are aware of the allegations surrounding this matter and are looking into it.” However, the FBI has not confirmed whether Law has been interviewed, and the actor’s lawyer has yet to verify whether his client was at JFK at the time of the hacking.
Last summer, the FBI launched a separate investigation into News International after reporters were accused of hacking into 9/11 victims’ phones. No official charges have been brought against the company.