JournalismPakistan.com May 16, 2012
LONDON:Rebekah Brooks, a close confidante of Rupert Murdoch, was charged Tuesday (May 15) with interfering with a police investigation into a phone hacking scandal that has rocked the tycoon's empire and sent shockwaves through the British political establishment.
Brooks, 43, was charged with conspiring to remove boxes of archive records from Murdoch's London headquarters, concealing material from detectives, and hiding documents, computers and other electronic equipment from the police. If found guilty she could face a prison sentence.
The charges against Brooks, her husband and four others are the first since police re-launched an investigation into alleged illegal practices at Murdoch's British newspapers following accusations that the extent of wrongdoing had been covered up.
The news is a personal blow for the world's most powerful media boss and also embarrassing for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was close friends with Brooks and sent her text messages of support when the alleged offences took place.
Murdoch is facing increasing pressure in Britain.
He has been forced to close one newspaper, withdraw a major takeover bid for a lucrative TV group and been described in a parliamentary committee report as someone who is not fit to run a major international company.
Murdoch's closeness to Brooks, instantly recognizable for her mane of flame-red hair, was highlighted last year when the mogul flew into London to tackle the hacking scandal, put his arm around her and declared that she was his top priority.
The charges relate to those frenzied days last July, when Murdoch shut the 168-year-old News of the World, a top-selling Sunday tabloid, and Brooks was first arrested.
Police said "unemployed" Brooks would face three charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. All six are due appear in court in London on June 13.- Reuters
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