UK PM ex-aide to be charged over cash for royal tip-offs

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron’s former media chief Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, the former boss of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper business, were charged yesterday with conspiring to make illegal payments to officials for information for stories.

The charges against the pair, who were both close to Cameron, relate to their former roles as editors of the Murdoch-owned News of the World Sunday tabloid and its sister daily paper the Sun.

Prosecutors accuse Coulson of conspiring to obtain private information about Britain’s royal family, while Brooks was charged over payments of 100,000 pounds ($160,100) to a civil servant from the Ministry of Defence to garner details for news stories.

The decision to charge them is a blow to the reputation of Cameron, who has been forced to defend his hiring of Coulson since a phone-hacking scandal exploded last year at the now-closed News of the World.

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