LONDON – Two journalists for The Sun newspaper were charged Friday with allegedly paying public officials for information about psychiatric patients and a member of the royal family, British authorities said.
The charges are the latest in a series of bribery-related allegations against journalists at the bestselling tabloid, which named a new editor Friday.
The paper said editor Dominic Mohan will leave the paper and serve as an adviser to company chief Rupert Murdoch, with former Scottish Sun editor David Dinsmore stepping into the top position at The Sun.
The Sun’s Jamie Pyatt and John Edwards were charged along with Robert Neave, a former health care assistant at the Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital, with conspiring together “and with public officials known” to commit misconduct in a public office, prosecutors said.
The unidentified alleged conspirators include public officials employed at Broadmoor, employees of two separate police forces and British army officials, prosecutors said. They allege that over nearly nine years, The Sun paid more than 30,000 pounds ($46,500) to public officials, including Neave, for information including details of the health and activities of Broadmoor patients, information about a royal family member’s work and facts about police investigations.
The charges are being brought as part of Operation Elveden, an investigation into allegations that newspapers were paying police and other officials for information.
The inquiry is running alongside investigations into phone and computer hacking sparked by the discovery that reporters at Murdoch’s now-closed News of the World tabloid regularly intercepted voicemails.
More than 30 people have been charged in the scandal, including journalists, police officers and former executives at Murdoch’s newspapers.
Half-a-dozen senior current and former reporters from The Sun have found themselves facing charges. The Sun didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pyatt, Edwards and Neave will appear at a London court on July 18.