Prison Officer, Journalists to Be Charged in U.K. Bribery Probe

U.K. prosecutors said they would charge a prison officer, three journalists and a member of the public as part of an investigation into bribery of officials at newspapers including News Corp. publications.

Journalists from News Corp., Trinity Mirror Plc and Northern & Shell Plc tabloids allegedly paid prison worker Scott Chapman more than 35,000 pounds ($52,300) for stories through his former partner Lynn Gaffney, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement outlining its decision to bring charges.

Thomas Savage, an editor at Northern & Shell’s Daily Star, is the first non-News Corp. journalist to be charged in the bribery probe known as Operation Elveden. Lucy Panton, a former editor at News Corp.’s now defunct News of the World paper, was also charged, along with Chris Pharo, a senior editor at News Corp.’s Sun tabloid, who allegedly authorized payments to officials at secure hospitals, the police and armed forces, the CPS said.

All five are accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. News Corp. newspapers have been at the heart of investigations into alleged bribery and phone hacking by journalists that have led to lawsuits, criminal charges and the closure of its News of the World tabloid.

The CPS said it didn’t have enough evidence to charge a fourth journalist, from Trinity Mirror.

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