News Corp. could face U.K. charges over phone hacking

British prosecutors say they are considering corporate charges against media baron Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. over the phone hacking fiasco at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

Prosecutors weigh dossier submitted by police after years-long investigation

Media baron Rupert Murdoch shut down Britain's top-selling News of the World tabloid in 2011 as it emerged its journalists had hacked the cellphones of celebrities and crime victims. Prosecutors are now considering whether to bring corporate charges against the parent company. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)

British prosecutors say they are considering corporate charges against media baron Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. over the phone hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

The news comes amid reports that former editor and Murdoch lieutenant Rebekah Brooks is poised to return to the company.

London's Metropolitan Police said Saturday it had submitted a file to England's Crown Prosecution Service last month. Prosecutors confirmed they had "received a full file of evidence for consideration of corporate liability charges" relating to the phone hacking.

A decision about whether to prosecute rests with Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported that former News of the World editor Brooks, who quit News Corp. when the hacking scandal broke four years ago, would return to head Murdoch's British newspaper division, which includes the Times, Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers.

News Corp. is in talks to re-hire former editor Rebekah Brooks, who was acquitted of criminal charges related to the News of the World phone hacking scandal. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

News Corp. confirmed holding talks with 47-year-old Brooks but said it had no announcement.

Murdoch shut down the News of the World, Britain's top-selling newspaper, in July 2011 after the revelation that it had hacked into the phone of a 13-year-old murder victim.

Brooks, a close confidante of Murdoch and a friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron, was acquitted last year after an eight-month trial of charges relating to phone hacking, bribery and hiding evidence from police.

Her former deputy Andy Coulson, who succeeded her as News of the World editor, was convicted of conspiring to hack phones and jailed. Several other former News of the World staff were also convicted of eavesdropping on the voicemails of celebrities, royals, politicians and crime victims.

News Corp. has spent more than $660 million in legal settlements with hacking victims and other hacking-related costs.

The U.S. Justice Department said in February that it would not bring charges against the company over the hacking scandal.


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