News Corp. Reporter, Officers Arrested in U.K. Bribery Probes
News Corp. (NWSA)’s bribery scandal in Britain led to four more arrests, including a journalist and a police superintendent, bringing to 35 the number of people accused of trading illegal payments for tabloid stories.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service detained a 31-year-old reporter for News Corp.’s Sun newspaper, a 40-year-old former prison officer and a 37-year-old woman suspected of conspiring to corrupt a public official. The Independent Police Complaints Commission also arrested a serving superintendent for the City of London police on suspicion of misconduct in public office.
News Corp. is struggling to move on from the bribery probes and related phone-hacking scandal, which ended its bid for British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY) and has cost the company about $258 million in lawsuit legal fees and settlements. The first three arrests were announced less than an hour before U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron began testifying at a media-ethics inquiry triggered by News Corp. wrongdoing.
Police have detained and released on bail more than 50 people since January 2011 in related probes of intercepting voice mail messages, computer hacking and bribery at News Corp. titles, including the now defunct News of the World tabloid.
The three people detained by the Met were arrested at locations in Corby and Croydon, England, today for questioning and weren’t identified. A spokeswoman for News Corp.’s U.K. unit, News International, said the 31-year-old was a journalist at the Sun, the best-selling daily title in Britain.
The Met arrests were the result of information provided by News Corp.’s Management Standards Committee, the internal group investigating phone hacking and bribery at the company’s U.K. newspapers, police said. The IPCC said it made the arrest after receiving evidence from the Met.
Paul Durman, a spokesman for the MSC, didn’t return a call seeking comment.
Press officials for the City of London Police, which encompasses Britain’s financial and business center, and the Met declined to comment on the arrest.
The Met Police have arrested 33 people. The IPCC, which has opened its own investigation into bribes being paid by journalists to police, previously arrested a 52-year-old former officer in January.
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