Image © 2012 AFP / AAP / Pool
Rupert Murdoch completed a reputation-shredding week in British political and media circles by accusing senior figures at the News of the World of orchestrating an elaborate cover-up over phone hacking.
The defunct Sunday tabloid's former editor, Colin Myler, and lawyer, Tom Crone, became the latest to have their names dragged through the mud at the Leveson inquiry into media ethics.
Without naming them, the 81-year-old media baron pointed the finger at the pair for keeping senior executives such as himself, son James and Rebekah Brooks in the dark over the paper's illegal activities.
"There is no question in my mind, maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond, that someone took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret," he said, before referring later on to a "a clever lawyer".
Crone instantly fired back by accusing Murdoch senior of a "shameful lie", but he was not the only one having his standing brought into question at the inquiry.
With his inquisitor, Robert Jay QC, baiting Murdoch at times with a much tougher line of questioning on Thursday, the multi-billionaire apologised and antagonised in a candid performance on his second and final day of evidence.
He said "sorry" on 17 occasions for the damage caused by the phone-hacking scandal and delivered some scathing asides about several former employees and rivals in Britain.
He put the failure of his son, James, to pick up the warning signs of the problems at the News of the World down to being "pretty inexperienced", a far from flattering assessment.
Rupert Murdoch said he had suffered a "serious blot" on his reputation and that his company had lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of the scandal, the cost included mounting massive internal investigations trying to purge itself of any other illegal activities.
He said it involved trawling through 300 million emails, of which two million received closer scrutiny but insisted the firm found no evidence of wrongdoing in his Australian and US operations.
Murdoch left the inquiry with a smile.
It might be temporary.
A British parliamentary inquiry, which has heard evidence from all the key players in the hacking saga, is set to hand down a much-anticipated report on Tuesday.
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