News Int’l Deleted Thousands Of E-mails

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LONDON, Aug. 2 (UPI) — News International, the British company at the center of a phone hacking scandal, asked that more than 200,000 of its e-mails be deleted, an IT firm said.

HCL Technologies, the India-based company that manages News International’s computer systems, said it was asked to delete News International e-mails on nine separate occasions between April 2010 and July 2011, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday.

The disclosure came after Labor Party lawmaker Tom Watson alleged there was an attempt to destroy data at an HCL facility to try to mask the scale of the phone hacking. HCL Technologies said it was unaware of anything “abnormal, untoward or inconsistent” behind the requests to delete the e-mail.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, said he was surprised by the letter from HCL and said members of Parliament would question the company about its role in the hacking scandal.

In the letter, HCL said it “does not hold any information belonging to News International [nor has it ever held such information] relevant to the subject matter of the current investigation.”

Rather, the company’s role was to manage New International’s IT systems, such as severs, applications databases and e-mail systems networks.

The Independent reported the news prompted concerns that key evidence may have been lost to police and other entities investigating the phone hacking scandal at the defunct News of the World, which was owned News International, the British subsidiary of media mogul Rupert Murdock’s News Corp.

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