OFFICIAL CORRECTION-UK Sun reporter charged in police payments probe

Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:00am EST

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(CPS has corrected age of girl in second paragraph to 15)

LONDON Jan 22 (Reuters) - A journalist from Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid who allegedly paid police for tip-offs has become the latest person to be charged as part of Britain's wider phone-hacking scandal.

Virginia Wheeler, the paper's defence editor, is accused of paying a police officer at least 6,450 pounds ($10,200), for information about suspects and victims of accidents and crimes including in the case of the death of a 15-year-old girl.

The tip-offs included information about high profile individuals and people associated with them, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement.

Wheeler and former Metropolitan Police Service constable Paul Flattley will be charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, the CPS said. They will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court at a date to be fixed.

Illegal payments to public officials for information has been discovered as part of the wider phone-hacking scandal which forced Murdoch to close what was once Britain's best-selling paper, the News of the World, in 2011.

Among others already facing charges in the scandal are Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-media chief Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, who was once courted by a succession of British prime ministers in her role as Murdoch's lieutenant. (Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Kate Holton)

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