James Murdoch before culture committee

James Murdoch giving evidence to the culture, media and sport select committee earlier this year

James Murdoch has told MPs that he did not authorise a payment to publicist Max Clifford to settle a phone-hacking claim.

The payment of £400,000 over two years, plus Clifford's legal costs of £283,500 +VAT, was authorised by former chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks, Murdoch wrote in a letter to John Whittingdale, chair of the culture, media and sport select committee on 1 December, which was published online late last night.

"Mrs Brooks did mention the agreement with Mr Clifford to me but she did not seek any authorisation from me, nor did she discuss its terms with me," Murdoch, who is executive chairman of News International, wrote.

A letter from solicitors on behalf of parent company News Corporation's management and standards committee (MSC) also states the Clifford settlement was "negotiated" by Brooks in February 2010, and details the sums agreed.

"The MSC has seen no information to suggest that this agreement was discussed by the boards of News Group Newspapers, News International or News Corporation," the letter from solicitors Linklaters on behalf of the MSC states.

A letter from Brooks, who resigned from her position as chief executive of News International in July, was also made public in the document release. In it she declines to comment citing an ongoing police investigation.

In a letter Colin Myler, the former editor of the News of the World, which closed in July following phone hacking revelations, also states that he believes "the settlement was authorised by Mrs Brooks".

"I remember [Tom] Crone [former head of legal at the News of the World] and [Julian] Pike [of News International's law firm Farrer & Co] advising Mrs Brooks that the amount she indicated that she was prepared to offer Mr Clifford in settlement of his claim was more than they advised was necessary.

He went on to say: "I do not know whether Mrs Brooks would have needed to seek authorisation from Mr Murdoch concerning the settlement with Mr Clifford.

"I do not know whether Mr Murdoch was aware of the claims made by Mr Clifford or of the details of the settlement. As the committee will know, Mr Murdoch told the committee on 10 November 2011 that he was told by Mrs Brooks 'in general terms' of the settlement, but 'was not particularly briefed on the ins and outs'."

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).