LONDON (AP) – British prosecutors say they are considering corporate charges against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. over phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.
The news comes amid reports that former editor and Murdoch lieutenant Rebekah Brooks is poised to return to the company.
London’s Metropolitan Police said Saturday it had submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service last month. Prosecutors confirmed they had “received a full file of evidence for consideration of corporate liability charges” relating to phone hacking.
A decision about whether to prosecute rests with Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders.
Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported that former News of the World editor Brooks, who quit News Corp. when the hacking scandal broke four years ago, would return to head Murdoch’s British newspaper division, which includes the Times, Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers.
News Corp. confirmed holding talks with 47-year-old Brooks but said it had no announcement.
Murdoch shut down the News of the World, Britain’s top-selling newspaper, in July 2011 after the revelation that it had hacked into the phone of a 13-year-old murder victim.
Brooks, a close confidante of Murdoch and a friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron, was acquitted last year after an eight-month trial of charges relating to phone hacking, bribery and hiding evidence from police.
Her former deputy Andy Coulson, who succeeded her as News of the World editor, was convicted of conspiring to hack phones and jailed. Several other former News of the World staff were also convicted of eavesdropping on the voicemails of celebrities, royals, politicians and crime victims.
News Corp. has spent more than $500 million in legal settlements with hacking victims and other hacking-related costs.