COMMENTARY: Who Cooked the Books for Our Ms. Brooks?

By Joseph J. Honick

Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick

Anyone who has ever had to handle expense accounts knows only too well they all require some justification….at the very least some receipts or other clear explanation, even for $10 for a cheap lunch while on assignment.

So two questions arise from the ongoing Murdoch saga, neither of which has been even approached despite the admissions of some large sums “invested” in bribing a variety of helpful people and large settlements to keep even the fired help quiet.

 The two questions:



1.     How were those expenditures  handled by the accountants for Ms Brooks?

2.     Why has no one involved in this complex headline situation even bothered to raise the point?

Rupert Murdoch - Rebekah Brooks
Rupert Murdoch - Rebekah Brooks

We’re not talking here about pocket change.  The undenied allegations reach into at least major six figures with totals perhaps getting into millions, and all those have nothing to do with the actual process of telephone hacking.

So the question basically and simply is:  who cooked the books for Rebekah Brooks, and how did they do it?

Certainly the folks who run the figures every days for a major corporate operation like NewsCorp have to know what was charged for what.  Then those who audit corporate accounts always have questions to raise when the expenses provide the question they should raise.

This is basic stuff that has so far eluded the interests of the rather unaggressive Parliament committee, but the kind that could prove every bit as embarrassing as the whole hacking scandal and alleged payoffs to cops, politicians and many others.

 So could a bribe of someone providing  telephone numbers be charged to a “business lunch?”

It all brings to mind one of the greatest motion pictures ever made: "The Sweet Smell of Success",  starring Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis and a bunch of old time favorites. (Editor's note: This wonderful 1957 black and white film was directed by Alexander Mackendrick, written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, starring Lancaster, Curtis, Martin Milner, Susan Harrison, Sam Levene and the Chico Hamilton Quintet).  


  "The Sweet Smell of Success"  dwelled on how ruthless columnists and press agents connived to either hype or destroy people in what was then the preferred channel, newspaper gossip columns.  Only with the News Corp. dirt-digging operation, it was a total corporate commitment and policy that needed some bookkeeping “cover”, and therein is the mystery that gives rise to the simple but so far untested question:


Who cooked the books for Rebekah Brooks?

Will those bookkeepers, accountants and auditors be called before the Committee? Does the Committee really want to know the answers les any deeper probe could uncover still more Parliamentary names among others?

At the very least, there is the germ of a possible tune and a slot on any number of television comedy hours.


* * *    Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications, including
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