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Lachlan Murdoch accused of being present during News Corp's 'vote deal' with ex- Oz senator

November 26, 2011 - Canberra

A former Australian senator, who claimed that a News Corp executive offered him favourable newspaper coverage if he crossed the floor on a vote of financial interest to the company, has revealed that Rupert Murdoch's eldest son, Lachlan was present at the meeting.

Bill O'Chee alleged that Lachlan Murdoch was present when an executive from the family's News Corporation made the proposal along with a promise of a 'special relationship,' the Daily Mail reports.

O'Chee claimed that Malcolm Colless, then director of corporate development for News Ltd, News Corp's Australian subsidiary, asked him during a lunch on June 13 1998, to vote against his conservative government's legislation on the creation of digital TV in Australia, specifically a bill called the Television Broadcasting Services (Digital Conversion) Bill.

Details of O'Chee's allegations were made in a nine-page sworn statement that was published by Fairfax Media newspapers, a rival of News Corp.

"This is a very, very serious matter that goes right to the heart of government and something that I'm sure would concern every thinking person," O'Chee said.

"It would just be helpful to all concerned if Lachlan Murdoch now admitted the fact that he was present during that lunch, or portions of that lunch, when pay TV was discussed," he added.

According to the report, Lachlan Murdoch, now a board member of an Australian television network, had no recollection of the lunch.

John Hartigan, chairman and chief executive of News Ltd, has also categorically denied allegations of improper conduct.


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