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News International Could Face Bribery Charges in U.K. (Report)

The Sun Newspaper
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.'s British publishing division is under pressure as journalists being investigated may be asked to give up bosses' names by police.

LONDON – News Corp.'s News International, Rupert Murdoch's British publishing division, could face corporate corruption charges over alleged bribery of public officials.

According to a report in The Telegraph Friday, the possibility emerged after it wasreported that journalists being investigated over alleged payments to public officials are being put under pressure to implicate senior executives at News International.

More than 20 journalists at News International's tabloid The Sun have been arrested as part of the police's Operation Elveden, the codename for the bribery investigation.

Some hacks have been apparently asked to identify bosses at News International who may have known about or condoned payments to public officials in return for information.

Operation Elveden was launched by the police in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed News International.

According to The Telegraph, one of the journalists is said to believe that police are looking for evidence that could implicate News International at a corporate level in the alleged corruption.

The 1906 Prevention of Corruption Act allows charges to be brought at a corporate level.

For the law to be brought into play it would require that a "controlling mind," likely to be board member, was aware of the illegality.

Charges could also be brought under the 2010 Bribery Act, but this is unlikely to be used against News International, as the relatively new law can only be applied to illegal acts committed after July 2011.