LONDON, Nov 20 – British prosecutors charged ex-News International chief Rebekah Brooks and the prime minister’s former spokesman Andy Coulson on Tuesday with paying bribes for information on the royal family and the military.
Three other people also face charges over allegations that staff at Rupert Murdoch’s market-leading British tabloid The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World newspaper made illegal payments to British officials.
The charges are the latest to stem from the phone-hacking scandal which shut down the News of the World in 2011, caused a firestorm in British politics and plague Murdoch’s empire to this day.
Brooks, who is a close friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, and Coulson, the premier’s media chief until last year, already face trial on hacking charges. Brooks has also been charged with obstruction of justice.
The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement that Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World, and Clive Goodman, the tabloid’s ex-royal reporter, face two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.
They made payments in exchange for a Buckingham Palace phone book called the “Green Book” which contained “contact details for the Royal Family and Members of the royal household”, said Alison Levitt, the Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The person they paid remains unidentified, the CPS said.
Brooks, former Sun chief reporter John Kay, and Bettina Jordan-Barber, a Ministry of Defence employee, face one charge each of conspiracy to conduct misconduct in a public office.