According to Northampton accountants Harris & Co an HMRC employee, accused of passing on confidential information regarding the coalition’s spending plans as well as planned job losses at the department to a Sun journalist, in exchange for cash, has been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Jonathan Hall, a PR officer at the tax department is alleged to have disclosed details about government plans, including upcoming but as yet unannounced policy decisions relating to the 2010 Budget and its deficit reduction plans. Information related specifically to decision-making within HMRC, including job losses and casework at the department were also leaked.
Clodagh Hartley, a journalist at the Sun newspaper, between 30 March 2008 and 15 July 2011 allegedly paid £17,475 to Hall, mostly via his partner, Marta Bukarewicz, in exchange for the unauthorised disclosure of information obtained as a result of his employment with HMRC.
Announcing the decision to charge all three individuals, Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer at the CPS said: ‘We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Clodagh Hartley, a journalist at the Sun newspaper, Jonathan Hall, employed as a press officer at Her Majesty"s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Marta Bukarewicz, partner of Mr Hall and not a public official, should be charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.’
The charges form part of Operation Elveden; the on-going investigation into phone-hacking and other matters uncovered at some of the UK’s national newspapers.
HMRC declined to comment on the matter.