Former Editor at News Corp.'s 'The Sun' Charged Over Illegal Payments to Police

Fergus Shanahan - P 2013

Fergus Shanahan's charges emerged from the police probe launched in the wake of the U.K. phone-hacking scandal.

LONDON – Fergus Shanahan, a former editor of Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper, has been charged over alleged criminal offenses relating to payments of $11,600 (£7,000) to two public officials, the crown prosecution service said April 18.

Shanahan was charged as part of the so-called "Operation Elveden," a police investigation into alleged illegal payments by members of the media to police and other officials.

The probe is been carried out by London police, also known as Scotland Yard, in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

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Shanahan was charged on Thursday with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office during 2006 and 2007.

In a statement, prosecutors said that in August of both those years, Shanahan is alleged to have "authorized one of his journalists to make two payments totaling £7,000 ($10,600) to a public official for the disclosure of information."

Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, said the charges come from Operation Elveden.

"Our decision to prosecute was considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. These guidelines require prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings."

Shanahan is due to appear before Westminster magistrates' court on May 8.

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"May I remind all concerned that proceedings for a criminal offense involving Mr. Shanahan will now be commenced and that he has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons it would be inappropriate for me to comment further," Levitt added.

Shanahan's charge comes less than a month after Geoff Webster, the deputy editor of Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper, was also charged along similar lines.

Shanahan brings the number of people charged under Operation Elveden to 13 in total to date.

Last year, the paper's former editor Rebekah Brooks, who was in charge between 2003 and 2009, and Kay were charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.