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Brooks faces bribery charge

London, Nov. 20: Prosecutors today said that two former top executives — Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks — will be charged with making corrupt payments to public officials along with an array of previous accusations.

The development has far-reaching implications for Prime Minister David Cameron, who hired Coulson, a former editor of The News of the World tabloid, as his director of communications while in opposition and kept him on after coming to power in the 2010 elections. The Labour Opposition has frequently accused the Prime Minister of showing poor judgment.

The Crown Prosecution Service said today that Coulson and Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, the British newspaper subsidiary of Murdoch’s News Corporation, were among five people who should be charged as part of a police inquiry called Operation Elveden. The investigation ran in parallel with other investigations related to a phone hacking scandal that led to the closing of The News of the World.

Among the five were Clive Goodman, a former royal correspondent at The News of the World, who served a brief jail term in 2007 for hacking into voice mail accounts in the royal household.

“We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Clive Goodman and Andy Coulson should be charged with two conspiracies,” said prosecutor Alison Levitt. “The allegations relate to the request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a palace phone directory known as the ‘Green Book’ containing contact details for the Royal Family and Members of the Household.”

Coulson was deputy editor of The News of the World from 2000 to 2003 and editor from 2003 to 2007, when he became Cameron’s spokesman until he resigned in 2011 as the hacking scandal intensified.

The charges against him relate to two periods between August 2002 and January 2003, and between January and June of 2005, before he joined Cameron’s office, the prosecutors said.

Brooks, who was editor of The Sun tabloid between 2003 and 2009, will face charges along with the newspaper’s former chief reporter between 1990 and 2011, John Kay, and an employee of the defence ministry, Bettina Jordan-Barber. The accusation relates to payments for information said to total $160,000.

 
 
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