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News Corp. Tabloid Bribery Leads to New Arrest of London Officer

The bribery scandal at News Corp.’s Sun tabloid in Britain led to the arrest of a second serving police officer this week on suspicion of leaking confidential information to journalists.

A 51-year-old male from the Metropolitan Police Service’s territorial policing command unit in west London was detained at his home over alleged misconduct in public office, police said today in a statement that didn’t identify him.

The bribery probe, named Operation Elveden, has led to 61 arrests, including prison workers, members of the military, Sun journalists and Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, News International. The investigation has embroiled London police since it started.

Last week, former U.K. police officer Alan Tierney was charged with taking cash from the Sun in exchange for details about two incidents involving “high-profile” people in 2009. A 50-year-old police officer was arrested on Feb. 12 on suspicion of taking bribes, and a 33-year-old officer in the Met’s specialist crime unit was arrested a week earlier.

The Sun is the main target of the bribery probe, while News Corp.’s other U.K. tabloid, the now-defunct News of the World, is at the center of a phone-hacking scandal that triggered six more arrests yesterday. Both scandals have led to criminal charges against former News Corp. employees, including Brooks.

While the bribery probe has centered on illegal payments for confidential information, today’s arrest involves only the leaking of information and not a cash bribe, police said. The detainment was the result of evidence given to police by investigators at News Corp.’s U.K. publishing unit, News International, police said.

April Casburn, a senior London police detective, was sentenced on Feb. 1 to 15 months in prison for trying to sell information about the phone hacking probe to the News of the World. She was the first person to be sentenced in the cases. Other criminal trials are scheduled for later this year.

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