Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Rebekah Brooks, the former chief of News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper unit accused of phone hacking and bribery, received a payout worth 10.9 million pounds ($17.6 million) after stepping down from the post.
The package given to Brooks, who left the role in July 2011, included legal fees and costs for office space, according to regulatory filings. The amount is higher than the 7 million pounds Brooks was initially reported to have received. A spokeswoman for News Corp.’s London-based International division declined to comment.
Brooks is 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 a police probe into phone-hacking intensified last year. Brooks, who faces a criminal trial next year, 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 tabloid in 1989, Brooks rose through the ranks and was editor of that newspaper from 2000 to 2003. News Corp. shut down the News of the World tabloid, where the phone-hacking scandal started.
News Corp. has spent more than $315 million on civil settlements, legal fees and other costs related to the scandal. More than 80 people have been arrested for intercepting voice mail and bribing public employees. Results from a press-ethics probe recommended Britain set up an independent media regulator in response to wrongdoing by journalists.
The regulatory filing from Britain’s Companies House states that News Group Newspapers Ltd. incurred 43.3 million pounds in “exceptional” restructuring costs in relation to shuttering the News of the World tabloid last year, where the phone-hacking scandal started.
Amid the scandal, the U.K. newspaper unit this month named its third chief executive officer in less than 18 months.
Mike Darcey, currently chief operating officer at pay-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc, will replace CEO Tom Mockridge, who plans to step down by the end of the year. Mockridge last year took over from Brooks.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., bowing to pressure from shareholders, agreed in June to break off the publishing assets, which are growing more slowly than its Fox entertainment businesses. The company on Dec. 3 named Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson to lead the publishing spinoff. News International said today James Harding, who in 2007 took over from Thomson as the editor of The Times of London, will leave his post at the end of this month.
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