Timeline - Phone-hacking scandal

Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:37pm GMT

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(Reuters) - These are the major events in the phone-hacking scandal over the last 18 months as the inquiry by Lord Justice Brian Leveson on British media ethics is published on Thursday:

July 4, 2011 - A lawyer for the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler says police have told him her voicemail messages were hacked in 2002, possibly by a News of the World investigator. The disclosure comes days after the government backs plans by News Corp to buy out British pay-TV group BSkyB. Three days later News Corp announces it will close the News of the World. The July 10 edition is the last.

July 8 - Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor, who also served as Prime Minister David Cameron's chief media adviser, is arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

July 13 - News Corp withdraws its bid for BSkyB. Tom Crone, legal manager at News International, resigns. Two days later Rebekah Brooks, a former News of the World editor, resigns as chief executive of News International.

July 19 - Rupert Murdoch, questioned by parliament's Culture, Media and Sports committee, says he was "shocked, appalled and ashamed" when he heard about the Dowler case. His son James Murdoch and Brooks are also questioned.

November 14 - A public inquiry, chaired by Lord Leveson, begins its investigations into media ethics.

March 13, 2012 - James Murdoch, in a letter, apologises to those affected by the hacking scandal but says he was let down by senior staff on whom he had relied. He severs all ties with News Corp's British newspaper business on March 24 and resigns as chairman of BSkyB on April 3.

May 10 - Coulson appears at the Leveson inquiry and says Cameron's Conservative Party had asked few questions about his past and not carried out full security checks. Brooks appears on May 11 and provides colourful details of her friendships with the cream of British politics.

May 15 - Brooks is charged with interfering with a police investigation into a phone hacking scandal.

November 20 - Coulson and Brooks are charged with conspiring to make illegal payments to officials for information for stories.

(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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