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BBC Director General Candidate Accused of Involvement in News Corp Phone-Hacking Scandal - Report

Accusations against News International for phone hacking are still ongoing as the international scandal begins to envelop more senior executives at the Murdoch-owned media corporation. Former News of the World employees are accused of using an array of means to improperly access information for stories.

A former media executive and frontline candidate to be the next director-general of the BBC, William Lewis, has been accused by the publisher of the Sun and News of the World of being involved in the concealment and destruction of an array of emails relating to phone hacking, new high court documents that were made public on Wednesday have revealed.

William Lewis, who this month ended his tenure as the chief executive of the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, was identified among the names in a case being built by 50 alleged phone-hacking victims against News Group Newspapers (NGN), a News UK subsidiary which is run by Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch via its parent company - News Corporation.

During a remote management hearing on the phone-hacking case by claimants against the media conglomerate on Wednesday, Lewis was named within a 139-page document publicised by Justice Mann

The document entitled “re-amended particulars of concealment and destruction”, features Lewis' name alongside 20 other senior NGN figures who are accused of either being involved in or having knowledge of phone hacking.

“Lewis was heavily and directly involved in the email deletion strategy”, the claimants allege.

According to the accusers he was part of the senior management which "organised or allowed extensive deletions of millions of emails to take place without preserving backups" despite being aware of the need to preserve data for the civil claims and an ongoing live police investigation.

Other key executives in the document include Brooks, Andy Coulson, and James Murdoch.

Allegations against Lewis have been placed into evidence as part of a witness statement produced by Callum Galbraith, a lawyer at Hamlins, representing phone-hacking victims.

According to the Guardian, Lewis has adamantly denied the accusations.

"The allegation that I was involved in any wrongdoing is completely untrue", he said.

Despite the scale of the alleged misconduct, in 2015 the Crown Prosecution Service announced that no further action would be taken in relation to NGN with regard to two phone-hacking investigations.

“There are legitimate reasons for companies to have an email deletion policy,” the investigation result concluded.
“In this case, there is no evidence to suggest that email deletion was undertaken in order to pervert the course of justice".

Phone-hacking victim's legal representatives are seeking a ruling on Wednesday in order to see the time period of admissible claims extended to 1994-2011.

Currently, the time frame stands at 1998 to 2010. If Justice Mann agrees, News Group Newspapers could be the recipient of a wave of further legal action taken against it.

The case is due to go to trial in October.

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