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MP asks Serious Fraud Office to investigate News Corporation allegations

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has said that it will look into allegations relating to News Corporation by a Labour politician.22 Jul 2011

The SFO, which has the power to investigate and prosecute individuals for corrupt or fraudulent activity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said it had received a letter from Tom Watson, the MP for West Bromwich.

The letter asks the SFO to "investigate certain allegations relating to News Corp", according to the SFO's statement.

"The SFO can confirm that it has received a letter from Tom Watson MP calling upon the SFO to investigate certain allegations relating to News Corp," the SFO said in a statement it sent to OUT-LAW.COM.

"SFO Director Richard Alderman will give full consideration to Mr Watson's letter. The SFO is aware that the Metropolitan Police Service is conducting an investigation into alleged improper payments to police officers," the statement said.

Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International, the UK arm of News Corporation, was arrested on suspicion of corrupting police officers on Sunday before later being bailed.

The SFO also said it would provide assistance to US authorities if required. US investigators are looking into claims that News Corporation is in breach of US corruption laws.

Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act US-listed companies can be fined for illegal corrupt practices it is involved in abroad.