Coulson, Brooks face bribery charges amid UK press scandal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2012, 7:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2012, 8:36pm

British prosecutors said on Tuesday they will charge the prime minister’s former spokesman Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief Rebekah Brooks with making illegal payments to public officials.

Three other people will also be charged including the ex-chief reporter of The Sun newspaper, John Kay, the former royal editor at the News of the World, Clive Goodman, and a defence ministry employee, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Coulson and Goodman will be charged with paying public officials in exchange for a Buckingham Palace phone book called the “Green Book” which contained contact details for the royal family and members of the royal household.

Brooks, Kay and Bettina Barber, who worked at the Ministry of Defence, are charged over payments of around £100,000 (US$159,000) that were made to Barber in exchange for information between 2004 and last year for stories in The Sun.

All of them will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court at a date to be determined, the CPS said.

The charges are the latest to stem from the phone-hacking scandal which shut down the News of the World in July last year, caused a firestorm in British politics and plague Murdoch’s News Corp. empire to this day.

Brooks and Coulson have already been charged with phone hacking, while Brooks also faces charges of perverting the course of justice.