Five days after the News of the World rolled off the presses for the last time, Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of its publisher News International, walked out of the company with a severance package estimated by senior colleagues at £3.5m.
Her departure follows that of the final editor of the NOTW, Colin Myler, who is understood to be in line for a £2m pay-off, and two of the company's senior lawyers, Jon Chapman and Tom Crone, who will each get about £1.5m.
Brooks' resignation was followed last night by that of Les Hinton, chief executive of Dow Jones, the US branch of Rupert Murdoch's empire which publishes the prized Wall Street Journal, as the media mogul lost two trusted lieutenants in a single day. Mr Hinton's payout will further add to News Corp's bills.
The settlements with senior Murdoch executives will include strict gagging orders to stop them discussing company affairs outside the judge-led public inquiry or criminal proceedings.
The pay-offs contrast with the treatment of nearly 200 lower-ranking workers at the NOTW waiting to hear if they will be made redundant. A leaked email reveals police are effectively treating the paper's newsroom as a crime scene and forbidding any access to former staff "even under escort".