There's a new American twist to the Murdoch scandals. Reuters reported a few days ago that the name of American financier Robert Agostinelli turned up as a "blagging" target of private investigator Steve Whittamore, working on behalf of the Murdoch tabloid News of the World - which shut down in the wake of the phone hacking scandals that have engulfed the Murdoch empire. "Blagging" is a British term for obtaining information under false pretenses. In this case, someone misrepresented him or herself to get a copy of Agostinelli's hotel bill. (H/T Eric J.)
A database of business records compiled by British government investigators shows that some time before his arrest in March 2003, private investigator Steve Whittamore, or someone working for him, misrepresented themselves to obtain from Claridge's Hotel a copy of a bill belonging to Robert Agostinelli, an American who runs the Rhone Group private equity firm.
Reuters also notes that this is one of the few pieces of evidence so far that Americans have been targeted by Murdoch's papers.
Allegations have surfaced that Murdoch journalists or investigators may have used similar tactics on celebrities visiting the United States, but so far those allegations relate to journalists and targets based in Britain.
An FBI investigation so far has turned up no evidence to substantiate allegations, originally made by a British newspaper which competes with Murdoch properties, that victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. may have been targeted for intrusion by Murdoch journalists or investigators.