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Boris Johnson, London's mayor, embroiled in News Corp probe

Mayor Johnson allegedly continued his commercial negotiations with Rupert Murdoch's News International as Scotland Yard investigated the phone hackings.

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson leaves the stage after taking part in Mayoral hustings on April 14, 2012 in London, England. (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

London's Mayor Boris Johnson allegedly continued his negotiations with News Corp even as Scotland Yard was investigating the organization's phone hackings, BBC News reported

Mayor Johnson was looking to Rupert Murdoch and News International to sponsor a new cable car, as well as to help fund a new academy in East London, BBC reported. The conservative mayor had constitutional responsibility over the police force of Scotland Yard at the time the commercial negotiations and investigation of News Corp were unfolding, according to the BBC. 

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"I don't know of any discussions going on about that but what I can tell you is that I think it's right to work with the private sector to get contributions that will be for the benefit of London," Johnson told reporters in response to the allegations against him, the Telegraph reported.

He went on to curse about BBC London's political editor Tim Donovan, who broke the story. 

Several of Johnson's opponents in London's upcoming mayoral elections have demanded that Johnson be investigated for his involvement with News Corp. 

A spokeswoman for Ken Livingstone, the Labor party's mayoral candidate, said the revelations raised "serious questions," and that Mayor Johnson needed "to open the books and publish all the emails and other contact between him, News International and the Murdochs," BBC reported. 

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Johnson initially dismissed the allegations of widespread phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's empire as "a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labor party," the Guardian reported. In March, however, he changed his tune and put his support behind Scotland Yard's investigation of the scandal. 

"We are determined to see this thing go on until … journalists, whatever newspaper group they belong to, if they've broken the law, and indeed if any public servants have broken the law, then they need to feel the full consequences of the law," Johnson said, according to the Guardian. 

However, Johnson's deputy mayor Kit Malthouse argued that there was no conflict of interest with the investigation and his involvement with News Corp. 

"On one side he's being told by the third most senior police officers in the land, there's nothing in this, and there is no ongoing investigation. On the other side he has this very large employer in London who's willing to put private money into academies or whatever it may be," said Malthouse, according to BBC. "Boris has behaved with complete probity throughout this issue. He was a victim of phone hacking himself."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120430/boris-johnson-london-mayor-news-corp-phone-hacking