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Leveson inquiry will call Rupert Murdoch in to give public testimony

Rupert Murdoch, owner of News International newspaper group at the center of the Leveson inquiry, will testify in late April or early May, sources say.

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News Corporation Chief Rupert Murdoch holds up a copy of the newly launched 'The Sun on Sunday' newspaper as he leaves his London home on February 26, 2012. Rupert Murdoch will be called in to testify by the Leveson inquiry into media ethics in late April or early May, sources say. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)

The Leveson inquiry into media ethics is preparing to call on Rupert Murdoch to give testimony in late April or early May, sources close to the investigation told Reuters

The testimony news comes just a day after James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's son, stepped down as head of News International on Wednesday. 

More from GlobalPost: James Murdoch steps down as head of News International

Leveson and other investigators are currently in the first phase of their two-part inquiry into the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal that exposed British newspapers, including Murdoch's The Sun, according to the inquiry's website

Sue Akers, the deputy assistant commissioner of the inquiry, said payments from journalists to police did not amount to an "odd drink or meal" but "frequent" and "sometimes significant" amounts, the Telegraph reported.

Akers said reporters were regularly paying large sums to sources within the police, health, prisons and defense departments, and that almost $120,000 dollars was paid to one source alone, ABC News reported

“Of course there is always a debate about what is right for newspapers to do to get stories in the public interest but it is hard to think of any circumstances in which it is right for police officers to take money," said Prime Minister David Cameron, according to the Telegraph. 

More from GlobalPost: Top British cop describes "culture" of bribery at Rupert Murdoch's The Sun

Detectives arrested a tenth member of the Sun staff newspaper in relation to the bribery allegations on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Spokespeople for Murdoch's UK-based News International and US-based News Corp had no immediate comment, but a source close to Murdoch said he had previously indicated "he would be happy to cooperate with the Leveson inquiry," according to Reuters. 

Murdoch testified in front of Parliament's culture committee over the summer, the Atlantic Wire reported

Robert Jay, the Leveson inquiry's chief counsel, asked Piers Morgan, a CNN host who once edited the News of the World, to elaborate on a discussion he had with Murdoch about a complaint against the now-shuttered tabloid in 1994.

When Morgan said that he could not answer for Murdoch, Jay said: "Well, I can ask him for his impression when we get there," Reuters reported. 

Murdoch is not the only media magnate to be called by the Leveson inquiry to testify: Richard Desmond, who owns the Daily Express newspaper group, has already appeared before the tribunal, as has the CEO of the Daily Mirror's publisher Trinity Mirror, Sly Bailey, Reuters reported.

Editorial executives of other papers, including the Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily and Sunday Mirror, and Times and Sunday Times have also testified, according to Reuters.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120301/leveson-inquiry-rupert-murdoch-testimony