Rupert Murdoch may not have a woman on the News Corp board, and he might prefer to promote his sons ahead of his daughters, but the Sun King has just lost his most important female executive. Fox Broadcasting entertainment president Gail Berman defected overnight to run Paramount – check out the Reuters coverage here.

Berman has young twins and the new position is believed to involve less work and more money. Still, after five very successful years turning the Fox Broadcasting network into an earnings powerhouse for News Corp, the loss is a big blow.

Meanwhile, Crikey’s scoop on Rupert’s Bermuda Stock Exchange tax lurk has gone global with VarietyMagazine picking up the story yesterday, although you only get the first paragraph unless you subscribe. And Britain’s Daily Telegraph also gave it a run here. The reporter Aaron Patrick is an Australian who started out with the Herald Sun and then worked for Bloomberg and the Fin Review before quitting after enjoying a posting in New York. We suspect he got the story from Crikey as this prospectus for the Bermuda listing that we published in full has now been downloaded more than 2,000 times.

We’re still waiting to hear back from the Minter Ellison partner listed as the contact point for Karlholt. The Australian law firm is boasting on its website that it advised the Murdoch family on the deal, including the tax and stamp duty aspects. They list five partners, including a fellow called Nathan Deveson, head of their stamp duty group, who was made partner in 2002. Was Bermuda his idea? The lad would know, as he sits on the NSW office of state revenue liaison committee. How convenient.

Meanwhile, there were once again no trades for Murdoch family vehicle Karlholt on the Bermuda Stock Exchange today. Could the NSW government argue that they never intended to trade, so the whole listing was a sham transaction? If the Carr Government chooses to not go after the Murdoch family, it will be very interesting to see what editorial line The DailyTelegraph takes during the next NSW election. Anyone for a fourth term?

Peter Fray

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