While investigations into the News of the World hacking allegations rage on in the U.K., the Justice Department here in the U.S. is taking a more low-key approach in its own inquiry into whether the newspaper violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials.
Last week, U.S. prosecutors sent a letter to News Corp. seeking information about possible payments made by employees to British policemen, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Legal experts who spoke to the WSJ took special notice of the fact that the Justice Department sent a "letter of request" rather than a subpoena. They said that in cases like this where there's still little or no evidence that American laws have been broken, the government will try to take this friendlier approach. Still, while the request in the letter is voluntary, News Corp. is very unlikely to refuse to cooperate.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department is also in the midst of a separate investigation into whether the News Corp. tabloid hacked the phones of 9/11 victims. But according to WSJ sources, investigators still haven’t managed to find hard evidence to support the allegations.