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Photographer, Magazine Publisher Investigated Over Topless Photos Of Duchess Of Cambridge Kate Middleton

April 25th, 2013 12:15pm EDT

Kate Middleton The photographer who allegedly snapped shots of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton topless last year is facing criminal charges over the photos, which were published in French magazine Closer in September.

Middleton and Prince William vacationed at the Chateau d'Autet in Provence, France, last summer, and a paparazzo used a long lens to shoot the photos of the couple from a public road roughly a half-mile away.

Photographer Valerie Suau and Ernesto Mauri, the publisher of Closer, are being investigated for their parts in the scandal and face charges of breach of privacy and criminal use of the images. Lawyers for Britain's royal family have argued that the photos were a "grotesque breach of privacy" and violate France's strict privacy laws.

According to UsWeekly.com, Closer's editor, Laurence Pieau told Agence France-Press last fall that she had no regrets over publishing the pictures in the magazine.

"These photos are not in the least shocking," she said. "They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches."

Suau, who works for the French newspaper La Provence, admitted to taking pictures of Middleton sunbathing, but she claims the Duchess wasn't topless in her shots and the ones in question were taken by someone else.

"The photographer and legal representatives of both companies have been questioned concerning the photographing of a person on private property and the criminal use of these images," a spokesman told the UK's Daily Mirror. "The maximum penalty for this kind of offence is one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($60,000) for individuals."

The three publications that ran the photos -- Closer, Italian magazine Chi and Ireland's Irish Daily Star also face being shut down for up to five years.

Related: Kate Middleton, Prince William, Starpulse Exclusives, Celebrity, Controversies and Scandals, Legal Issues, British Royals, Nudity

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Photo Credits: i-Images, PacificCoastNews.com; Andrew Parsons/i-Images ,PacificCoastNews.com

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