Media titans set for faceoff over BBC payments

LONDON (AP) — A war of words between media titans over who approved oversized severance payments to outgoing BBC executives is set to move into Parliament.

BBC Trust Chairman Chris Patten said Friday he is looking forward to Monday’s parliamentary inquiry.

He has been accused by former BBC Director Mark Thompson, now the chief executive of the New York Times Co., of misleading Parliament about severance payments.

The issue focuses on whether Patten and the BBC Trust were told about severance agreements reached during Thompson’s tenure.

Patten told Parliament in July that the Trust was not informed, but Thompson said in a letter to Parliament on Thursday that the payments were made “with the full prior knowledge and extensive involvement of the BBC Trust.”

Thompson is also expected to appear before Parliament Monday.

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