Royal Correspondent at 'The Sun' to Be Charged in U.K. Bribery Probe

5:40 AM PST 04/24/2013 by George Szalai

The journalist at the tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. allegedly paid more than $35,000 for news stories from a royal military training academy.

LONDON – The chief royal correspondent of The Sun tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., will be charged with illegal payments to public officials in return for news stories.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said Wednesday that the journalist, Duncan Larcombe, would be charged along with two public officials and two private individuals as part of a probe launched on the heels of the phone-hacking scandal.

Larcombe, who previously served as defense editor, allegedly paid more than $35,000 for news stories, according to authorities.

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Alison Levitt, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, said "following a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that Duncan Larcombe, John Hardy and Claire Hardy should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office."

Hardy served as a color sergeant at the Royal Military Training Academy in Sandhurst, England, which Prince William and Prince Harry attended. Claire Hardy is his wife.

The CPS said that from 2006 through 2008, a total of "34 payments were made to either John Hardy or Claire Hardy totaling over £23,000 for stories relating mainly to the Royal Family or matters at Sandhurst."

The London Metropolitan Police, better known as Scotland Yard, had said Larcombe was implicated based on "information provided to police by News Corp.'s management standards committee." It added that it was not "seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately."

Larcombe is The Sun's 12th journalist to be arrested in probes launched amid the hacking scandal.

Email: Georg.Szlaai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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