Rebekah Brooks, the former head of News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper operations, was given a payout package worth about 7 million pounds ($11.3 million) after stepping down amid the unit’s phone-hacking scandal, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The package included legal fees, cash and a chauffeur-driven car, the person said, declining to be identified because the payment is not public. Daisy Dunlop, a spokeswoman for News Corp.’s News International unit, declined to comment. Brooks’s lawyer Angus McBride couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Brooks, who stepped down in July 2011, and 13 other people will face the first criminal trial next year over their roles in the phone-hacking scandal. Brooks was among executives charged with either conspiring to intercept the voice mail of celebrities, lawmakers and crime victims, or conspiring to cover up the practice as the police probe intensified last year.
News Corp., the New York-based company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, is trying to move on from the scandal after civil lawsuits and a parallel media-ethics inquiry that began last year revealed damaging evidence about hacking and other wrongdoing. The company has since closed its News of the World tabloid, where the phone-hacking scandal started, and is splitting its publishing assets from entertainment.
News Corp., which holds its annual general meeting in Los Angeles today, has paid out more than $315 million for legal fees, civil court settlements, and the cost of shutting News of the World.
Brooks became head of News International, which also publishes the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times, in 2009 after serving as editor of the Sun for 6 1/2 years. Beginning her career as a feature writer for the News of the World in 1989, Brooks rose through the ranks and was editor of that newspaper from 2000 to 2003.
Separately, prosecutors investigating voicemail interception and bribery at News Corp.’s U.K. publications today said they declined to file charges against a police officer who briefed a journalist on the status of the original phone-hacking probe in 2006. The Crown Prosecution Service said the journalist was a potential victim of the crime.
Brooks was a victim of phone-hacking and briefed on the initial probe, according to testimony at the U.K. media triggered by the scandal. The Guardian newspaper reported today the unidentified officer cleared by prosecutors was the one who briefed Brooks.