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The phone hacking scandal: The figures at the center of it

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The scandal began with revelations of phone-hacking by Rupert Murdoch's tabloid News of the World
  • Lawmakers, royalty and murder victims were all targeted by the newspaper
  • News of the World closed on July 10, but the scandal continues
  • Key players include News Corp management, ex-News of the World journalists and senior police figures

Editor's Note: Watch UK lawmakers question Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks live from 1:30 p.m. GMT / 9:30 a.m. ET Tuesday on and also via CNN Apps including iPhone, iPad, Android and selected Nokia devices. Also watch lawmakers question leading members of the Metropolitan Police including former chief Paul Stephenson from 11 a.m. GMT / 7 a.m. ET Tuesday.

London (CNN) -- A brief overview of the figures at the center of the widening phone-hacking scandal in the United Kingdom.

News of the World

A 168-year-old tabloid was the best-selling English-language newspaper in the world, selling about 2.5 million copies every week.

It shut down on July 10 amid allegations that it hired private detectives to hack illegally into the voice mails of thousands of people, ranging from top politicians and celebrities to murder victims and the families of fallen troops.

There are also allegations that journalists bribed police to get private details about people, including members of the royal family.

Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch is the chief executive officer of News Corp., the parent company of News of the World owner News International. In the United States, Murdoch's News Corp. encompasses Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and Harper Collins publishers.

James Murdoch

James is Rupert's son, once seen as the black sheep of the family but now considered one of his father's most likely successors. He's third in command at News Corp., behind Rupert and Chase Carey. He is the one who announced the closure of News of the World after the scandal exploded.

Clive Goodman

Goodman was the News of the World royal correspondent. He pleaded guilty in 2007 to phone hacking and went to prison for it. The allegations surfaced after the newspaper printed a story about Prince William injuring his knee, prompting royal officials to complain to police about probable voice mail hacking.

Glenn Mulcaire

Mulcaire, a private investigator, was convicted in 2007 alongside Goodman of conspiracy to hack into the voice mails of royals.

Andy Coulson

Coulson was editor of News of the World when Goodman and Mulcaire went to prison. Coulson always insisted he did not know about the crimes before Goodman and Mulcaire pleaded guilty, but quit because he was in charge when they happened.

He then went on to work as Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman -- but resigned when the police launched their new phone-hacking investigation in January. Still professing his innocence, he said he was stepping down because he had become a distraction for the prime minister.

David Cameron

Cameron is the British prime minister who has been slammed for hiring Coulson. Cameron has repeatedly insisted that he felt Coulson deserved "a second chance."

Sean Hoare

Hoare was one of the first News of the World journalists who said phone hacking was a common practice at the paper and was encouraged by Coulson. On July 18, he was found dead. Police said the death is being treated as "unexplained" but not "suspicious."

Milly Dowler

A murdered teenage girl whose family announced on July 4 that her phone had been hacked when she was missing in 2002. They said the hackers had deleted messages from her voice mail to make space for more, giving them hope she was still alive when she was already dead.

Rebekah Brooks

Brooks was editor of News of the World when the alleged hacking of Dowler's phone took place. She went on to become chief executive of the company that published the paper, News International.

A close confidant of the Murdoch family, she became the focus of much public and political anger when the scandal caught fire.

She resigned on July 15. Two days later, she was arrested, questioned for about nine hours, and released on bail until October.

Paul Stephenson

Stephenson was the head of the Metropolitan Police until he resigned July 17 after it was revealed that Scotland Yard had hired a former top News of the World journalist to be a communications consultant. Stephenson insisted he had done nothing wrong.

John Yates

Yates was an assistant police commissioner until he resigned July 18. He was the one who decided in 2009 that there was no need to open a new police investigation into phone hacking despite the 11,000 pages of evidence sitting at Scotland Yard -- a decision he later admitted to Parliament was "crap."

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