Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson WILL face court over ‘making payments to public officials’: Four News International staff to be charged with conspiracy

  • Crown Prosecution  Service said that five people are to face action as part of Operation  Elveden
  • The others are former News of the World royal  correspondent Clive Goodman, former Sun  chief reporter John Kay and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan  Barber
  • 52 people have  been arrested  as part of Operation Elveden, two of whom have been told they  will face no further action
  • Goodman and  Coulson face charges relating to payments to public officials for information  including the ‘Green Book’ royal phone directory
  • Brooks and Kay to  be charged in relation to alleged payments of £100,000 to MoD worker Barber for  stories which appeared in the Sun

By Chris Greenwood and Matt Blake

PUBLISHED:05:37 EST, 20  November 2012| UPDATED:10:09 EST, 20 November 2012

Former News International chiefs Andy Coulson  and Rebekah Brooks were formally accused today of a ‘cash for stories’  conspiracy.

They were among five people named over claims  public officials took bribes in exchange for confidential  information.

Among them is a senior Ministry of Defence  official who is accused of pocketing £100,000 over eight years.

David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks will be charged as part of the investigation into alleged corrupt payments to public officials.David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks will be charged as part of the investigation into alleged corrupt payments to public officials.

Charged: David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy  Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks will be charged as part of the investigation into alleged corrupt payments to  public  officials

Former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman is to be charged John Kay

Charged: Former News of the World royal correspondent  Clive Goodman, left, and The Sun’s former chief reporter John Kay, right,   are also to be charged

Alison Levitt QC, of the Crown Prosecution  Service (CPS), announced two groups of suspects will face trial.

The first includes Mr Coulson over  allegations the Royal Household’s internal phone directory and other  sensitive  information was leaked.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s former  chief  spin doctor is accused of conspiring with former News of the World royal  correspondent Clive Goodman.

Charged: Bettina Jordan-Barber, who has been charged in relation to payments made to public officials, is seen here with her husband Nigel and their children

Charged: Bettina Jordan-Barber, who has been charged in  relation to payments made to public officials, is seen here with her husband  Nigel and their children

Miss Levitt said the two men will face charges over two conspiracies, one in 2002-03 and one in 2005, relating to the  authorisation of payments to public officials.

She said the information handed over  included a Royal directory known as the Green Book which included  contact  details for the Royal family and their aides.

Prosecutors claim the second  conspiracy  involved Mrs Brooks, former Sun chief reporter John Kay and  MoD official  Bettina Jordan Barber.

Miss Levitt said Mrs Jordan Barber is  accused of accepting cash for information that formed the basis of ‘a  series’ of stories in The Sun.

THE INVESTIGATIONS: AN  OVERVIEW

Under a cloud: A worker arrives at News International's headquarters in Wapping, London. Of the 52 arrests made under Operation Elveden, 21 are understood to be journalists at the Sun newspaper

Operation  Weeting

Launched  in January 2011, it was the first investigation launched to probe allegations of  phone hacking. So far 22 people have been arrested.

Operation  Elveden

Launched in February 2011  to investigate allegations of inappropriate payments to police. So far 52 people have been arrested.

Operation  Tuleta

Launched in June 2011 to investigate  allegations of computer hacking. So far  18 people have been  arrested.

She said: ‘It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011.’

The senior barrister added that police  continue to investigate a fourth unnamed suspect over this alleged  conspiracy.

The announcement is the most major  development to date in Operation Elveden, Scotland Yard’s sprawling  probe into  claims of corruption between journalists and public  officials.

A total of 52 people have been  arrested and  questioned, including journalists, police officers,  military officials and  other civil servants.

Last week two suspect, a retired police  officer and a former journalist, were told they will face no further  action.

A senior counter-terrorism detective has  already been charged and is due to face trial in January.

Detective Chief Inspector April  Casburn is  accused of leaking information to the News of the World about discussions to  reopen the hacking inquiry.

Mrs Brooks edited the News of the  World  before taking over The Sun in January 2003 and becoming chief  executive of News  International in September 2009.

Mrs Brooks was officially charged at a  London police station this morning and was bailed to appear at  Westminster  Magistrates Court on November 29.

Mr Coulson edited the News of the  World  between 2003 and 2007 before becoming the Conservative party’s  director of  communications.

In a statement, Coulson said: ‘I am extremely  disappointed by this latest CPS decision. I deny the allegations made against me  and will fight the charges in court.’

Mr Kay, an award-winning reporter, was chief  reporter at The Sun for 21 years until his retirement last year.

He was charged at a London police station  this morning and will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court in  November.

His solicitor Henri Brandman, said: ‘Neither  my client nor I will be making any comment in respect of the matter at the  present time.’

Under a cloud: A security guard walks past News International's headquarters in Wapping, London. Of the 52 arrests made under Operation Elveden, 21 are understood to be journalists at the Sun newspaperUnder a cloud: A security guard walks past News  International’s headquarters in Wapping, London. Of the 52 arrests made under  Operation Elveden, 21 are understood to be journalists at the Sun newspaper

Mr Goodman was royal correspondent at the  News of the World for several years until 2007.

Mrs Jordan Barber is a senior official at the  MoD where she worked on high-level strategy and co-ordinating  visits to  Afghanistan.

All five will appear in court within  days  accused of conspiracy to case misconduct in a public office, an  offence which  carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Miss Levitt, who is overseeing  prosecution  decisions over all phone hacking and bribery cases, said the cases involve two  files handed over by police on August 30.

She said: ‘All of these matters were  considered carefully in accordance with the Director of Public  Prosecutions’ guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the  media.

‘This guidance asks prosecutors to  consider  whether the public interest served by the conduct in question  outweighs the  overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.

‘Following charge, these individuals will  appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a date to be  determined.’

Asked about the charges during a visit to  Northern Ireland, Mr Cameron said he had expressed ‘regret’ on many occasions  regarding the issue.

‘I have also said very clearly that we should  allow the police and the prosecuting authorities to follow the evidence wherever  it may lead and I think that is very, very important,’ he said.

‘But I think, particularly as we get to a  situation with pending court cases, I think we should probably leave it at  that.’

The five accused and the charges they  face:

REBEKAH BROOKS

Top friends: Rebekah Brooks' friendship with David Cameron has been well publicised. Here they are pictured together at the book launch for Citizen by her husband Charlie
Top friends: Rebekah Brooks’ friendship with David  Cameron has been well publicised. Here they are pictured together at the book  launch for Citizen by her husband Charlie

Cheshire-born Brooks, 44, began her career at  French magazine L’architecture d’aujourd’hui in Paris, before returning to  Britain to  work for Eddy Shah’s short-lived newspaper venture paper The Post in  1988.

She joined the News of the World in 1989, as  a secretary before becoming a feature writer on the paper’s Sunday  magazine.

From there she rose through the  ranks before  she was made deputy editor of the paper, aged 27. In 1998,  she became editor of  sister publication The Sun. In 2000, she  was appointed editor of the News of  the World, making her the youngest  editor of national British newspaper just  days before her 32nd birthday.

In 2002 she married Eastenders  actor Ross  Kemp in Las Vegas before splitting in 2005. She then married  former racehorse  trainer Charlie Brooks in 2009 where wedding guests included Tory leader David Cameron and Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In the same year, she was made Chief  Executive Officer of News International. She resigned from the  role in July  2011.

Today’s  charge: Between 1 January 2004 and  31 January 2012, she conspired to commit misconduct in public  office.

ANDY COULSON

Close: Coulson became Cameron's spin chief in 2007

Andy Coulson, 42, started out as a reporter  at the Basildon Echo in Essex in 1986, aged 18.

After just two years he moved to the Sun  where he worked with Piers Morgan on the Bizarre column which he  began to edit  in 1994 following a nine-week stint on the Daily Mail.

He soon carved out a reputation as a specialist in celebrity gossip, setting up the website page3.com – the  first  of News International’s websites to make a profit – and was  rewarded with the  editorship of the News of the World in 2003, aged 34.

Then in 2007, he left the News of  the World  and became director of communications for the Conservative  Party (pictured with  David Cameron), on a salary reported to be close to £400,000. He resigned in  2011.

Today’s  charges:

Charge 1: Between 31 August 2002 and 31 January  2003, he  conspired to commit  misconduct in public office.

Charge 2: Between 31 January 2005 and 3 June 2005, he conspired to commit  misconduct in public  office.

CLIVE GOODMAN

Clive Goodman with his wife at a party in the 90s

Clive Goodman, 53, enjoyed a long career of  royal scoops while Royal Editor at the News of the World.

He was even said to hold the newspaper’s  record for the highest number of consecutive front page leads – five.

Known for his pin-striped suits and  slicked-back hair, the former royal editor earned himself the nickname  the ‘Eternal’ or ‘Olympic Flame’, because he rarely went out.

Goodman (pictured with his wife at a party)  is said to have been at  home, chatting to Diana, Princess of Wales, on her  mobile, when she told him about her night-time mercy visits to hospitals. He  earned accolades for his work. In 2002, he was named Royal Editor of the Year in  The  Real Press Awards.

Today’s  charges:

Charge 1: Between 31 August 2002 and 31 January  2003, he  conspired to commit  misconduct in public office.

Charge 2: Between 31 January 2005 and 3 June 2005, he conspired to commit  misconduct in public  office.

JOHN KAY

John Kay

An award-winning reporter, John Kay was chief  reporter at The Sun for 21 years until his retirement last year.

He joined the paper in 1974 and was made  chief reporter in 1990.

Twice named ‘Reporter of the Year’  in the  British Press Awards, a Press Gazette feature in November 2005  also named him  as the sixteenth most influential British journalist  since the war.

Today’s  charge: Between 1 January 2004 and  31 January 2012, he conspired to commit misconduct in public office.

BETTINA  JORDAN-BARBER

Charged: Bettina Jordan-Barber, who has been charged in relation to payments made to public officials, is seen here with her husband Nigel and their children

Before her arrest, Ms barber was a Deputy  Team Leader and Strategy Officer at the Ministry of Defence.

Previously, she acted for two years as  Afghanistan Visits Strategy Officer.

Ms Jordan-Barber worked for the  Ministry of  Defence’s Iraq desk writing secret briefings for the  Secretary of State on the  inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi who died in British Army custody  in Basra.

Today’s  charge: Between 1 January 2004 and  31 January 2012, she conspired to commit misconduct in public office.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2235675/Rebekah-Brooks-Andy-Coulson-face-charges-alleged-payments-public-officials.html#ixzz2CmQtaOSx Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook