LONDON -- A senior reporter at Rupert Murdoch's The Sun newspaper is being charged with conspiring to pay about $35,000 in bribes in return for tips about the royal family, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The Sun's chief royal correspondent Duncan Larcombe is alleged to have conspired with employees of Sandhurst -- Britain's prestigious military academy -- to secure royal gossip. Although the statement does not go into detail, the princes, William and Harry, both trained at Sandhurst several years ago and the younger royals have long made tempting targets for scandal-hungry tabloids.

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Larcombe joins a growing list of Sun staff who have found themselves investigated over the paper's shaky ethics.

The Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan faces a bribery-related charge. Also facing charges are deputy editor Geoff Webster, defense editor Virginia Wheeler, and former chief reporter John Kay. So too, does The Sun former editor Rebekah Brooks.

Crime editor Mike Sullivan was arrested last year but recently learned he would not face charges.

The wave of legal action is linked to the phone hacking scandal which exploded in 2011 at Murdoch's News Corp. empire. The scandal shook Britain's establishment with revelations of industrial-scale espionage, phone hacking, bribery, blackmail, and influence peddling. Scores of journalists, police officials, and executives have been arrested or lost their jobs.