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Rebekah Brooks still a backseat driver at News International?

By Cahal Milmo

The extent to which Rebekah Brooks has severed ties with News International was brought into question yesterday after it emerged that she has retained her chauffeur-driven car paid for by the company.

The former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, who resigned last month shortly before she was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to hack voicemails and make corrupt payments to police, is thought to have been told she can keep the perk for two years.

Ms Brooks (43), who has strongly denied any wrongdoing and branded as "unthinkable" the actions of journalists alleged to have committed phone hacking, has resigned from 23 directorships linked to her News International role as she disentangles herself from the company.

Suggestions the ex-News of the World editor remains on the NI payroll are thought to be incorrect. But it is believed she has kept her car and driver as part of a confidential severance package.

The insistence of Mr Murdoch's empire that it has parted company with Ms Brooks have not stopped the circulation of rumours that she has been promised a new senior role when the phone-hacking scandal is resolved and the media mogul has told her to "travel the world" until then.

A spokesman for Ms Brooks said: "We are unable to comment on the contractual arrangements for the conclusion of Rebekah's employment at News International." The company said it could not comment on the matter.

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