Brooks Said to Be Quizzed on U.K. Defense Official Payment

Rebekah Brooks, the former Chief Executive Officer of News Corp. (NWSA)’s U.K. publishing unit, was questioned by police about payments made to a source at Britain’s Ministry of Defence, a person familiar with the investigation said.

London’s Metropolitan Police had questions related to information turned over by News Corp.’s Management and Standards Committee, formed to assist police investigations into claims of phone and computer hacking and bribery by the company’s reporters, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter is private.

Brooks, who hasn’t been charged, reported to police today as a condition of her bail from a previous arrest. She has been questioned at least twice before, once after she was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking and again March 13 related to obstruction of police investigations. The 43-year-old stepped down from News Corp. last year after the New York-based company was forced to close the News of the World tabloid after its reporters were accused of illegally accessing the voice mails of a murdered teenager for stories.

At least 11 reporters at the company’s Sun tabloid have been arrested, though also not charged, as part of the same investigation. The scandal at the News of the World set off three police probes into hacking and bribery, a Parliamentary inquisition and a judge-led inquiry into media ethics that may lead to new rules for the British press.

Corruption Culture

Brooks’s lawyer Stephen Parkinson didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

In February, Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers testified to the independent press ethics panel that the Sun had a “culture” of corrupt payments to public officials and said defense officials and soldiers were paid for stories.

The Met said in a statement that they questioned a 43-year- old woman as part of a bribery investigation and declined to comment further.

Police said the woman, who they didn’t identify, was released on bail after questioning.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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