Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson Appear in London Court to Face Corruption Charges

News Corp. Phone Hacking Charges and Settlements

In 2011, one of the biggest international media industry stories was the phone hacking scandal at the News International U.K. newspaper unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. The past year brought settlements with such celebrities as Hugh Grant and singer/actress Charlotte Church. But it also brought formal charges against former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and others on charges of hacking. Brooks and others are also accused of conspiring to "pervert the course of justice." Trials are expected to start in the fall of 2013. More fallout will come in the new year from the Leveson Inquiry report that proposed stricter regulation of the British press, which is currently being hotly debated.

Authorities recently announced charges against the former News International CEO and the former tabloid editor in a probe of payments to public officials.

 

LONDON - Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and several others made a brief court appearance here Thursday to formally face corruption charges.

Earlier this month, U.K. prosecutors had said that they had enough evidence in an investigation of illegal payments to public officials to bring criminal charges against at least five people, including the two, two other former top journalists at the U.K. newspaper unit of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and a public official.

The charges followed a police probe into payments by journalists to officials in exchange for information, such as phone numbers for Britain's Royal Family and news for publication in tabloids.

The defendants will return to court on Dec. 6.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service announced the charges that are a result of what London Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard, has called "Operation Elveden." It came in the wake of the long-running phone hacking probe, in which Brooks and Coulson have been key players.

Coulson previously also worked as communications advisor for British Prime Minister David Cameron.

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