Murdoch company executives could face corporate charges over phone hacking


Top executives at Rupert Murdoch's publishing company could face corporate criminal charges over phone hacking, it has emerged.

The Metropolitan Police has handed a "full file" of evidence to prosecutors relating to hacking at the News of the World.

The file relates to evidence gathered by detectives from Operation Weeting, which stretches back to 2011 and investigated illegal voicemail interceptions at the tabloid.

News UK, which was formally known as News International, was the owner of the News of the World which closed in 2011 at the height of the hacking scandal.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "We have received a full file of evidence for consideration of corporate liability charges relating to the Operation Weeting phone hacking investigation."

Confirming they had passed on the file, the Met Police said: "On the 23 July, following the investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World, detectives from Operation Weeting submitted a file to the CPS for their consideration."

The decision whether to prosecute lies with the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders.

It comes amid reports Rebekah Brooks, News International's former chief executive, is set to return to News Corp a year after she was cleared of all charges in the phone hacking trial.

The Financial Times claims Mrs Brooks will return as chief executive of the UK division of News Corp.

The campaign group Hacked Off, which represents victims of phone hacking, said it would be wrong to bring Mrs Brooks back.

Evan Harris, joint executive director of Hacked Off, said: "This is a major misjudgement of the public's mood by a company still ethically out of control."

Mrs Brooks was cleared of all charges following a 138-day trial at the Old Bailey, as was Stuart Kuttner, the former managing editor of the News of the World.

But Andy Coulson, another former editor of the newspaper who went on to become David Cameron's director of communications, was convicted and handed an 18-month prison sentence.

Former News of the World journalists Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup and Ian Edmondson pleaded guilty to their role in the hacking, along with private detective Glenn Mulcaire.