Tech Firm Says News International Deleted ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ of Emails

Revelation could be trouble for company in midst of hacking scandal

In the latest development in the hacking scandal in which Rupert Murdoch's media empire currently finds itself embroiled, tech firm HCL alleged in a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee that News Corp. subsidiary News International deleted “hundreds of thousands” of emails between April 2010 and last month, the committee’s chairman Keith Vaz said last night.

“I am most surprised by the contents of the letter sent on behalf of HCL,” Vaz told Reuters. “The fact that so many emails have been deleted at the request of News International raises a number of further questions which we will continue to probe.”

In the letter, HCL told the committee that it had been involved in nine separate attempts to delete News International emails, but wasn’t aware that there was anything wrong with the deletion requests. HCL also said that another unnamed company is responsible for any emails in the News International system that are more than a couple of weeks old, and that it had cooperated with this company in deleting material.

Because HCL wasn’t the company that stored News International’s data, it said, “any suggestion or allegation that it has deleted material held on behalf of News International is without foundation.”

In a statement, News International said, “NI keeps backups of its core systems and, in close cooperation with the [police's] Operation Weeting team, has been working to restore these backups.”