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CANBERRA, Australia -- A former Australian senator said Friday that Rupert Murdoch's eldest son was present when a News Corp. executive allegedly offered him favorable newspaper coverage and "a special relationship" in return for voting against government legislation.
The Australian Federal Police are investigating former Sen. Bill O'Chee's allegations about Murdoch's media empire, which has been shaken for months by a separate British scandal over hacked cellphone messages.
O'Chee told The Associated Press on Friday that Lachlan Murdoch, then a senior News Corp. executive, was at the table during crucial parts of his discussion with Malcolm Colless, then director of corporate development for News Ltd., News Corp.'s Australian subsidiary.
O'Chee alleges that Colless offered him inducements during a lunch on June 13, 1998, to vote against his conservative government's legislation on the creation of digital TV in Australia. News Corp. stood to profit from the legislation failing.