LONDON (AFP) - Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, at the centre of phone hacking claims, was still being paid by the British tabloid's owners while employed as the Conservative Party's media chief, the BBC said. Coulson received several hundred thousand pounds in severance pay after he began work in July 2007 as the director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron's party, who were then in opposition, the report said. The 43-year-old was arrested in July in the probes into phone hacking and corruption at the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday tabloid and was released on bail until October.