Former News International chief Rebekah Brooks arrested as Met chief resigns

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by a Newsnet Reporter
 
Former chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating the phone hacking scandal.
 
43 year old Mrs Brooks was, unusually for a Sunday, arrested by appointment at a London police station earlier today and becomes the tenth individual to be questioned by police over the affair.

Mrs Brooks, who resigned her position on Friday, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption allegations.  Investigations are also taking place into claims that police officers were bribed to provide confidential information.

She is due to give evidence in front of the Commons media select committee on Tuesday.  News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son James who is chairman of News International are also due to appear.

A spokesman for Mrs Brooks said her arrest would make her appearance at the committee “pretty tricky”.

The metropolitan police issued a statement that said: “The MPS [Metropolitan police service] has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.

“At approximately 12.00 a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting [phone hacking investigation] together with officers from Operation Elveden [bribing of police officers investigation]. She is currently in custody.

“She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

“The Operation Weeting team is conducting the new investigation into phone hacking.

“Operation Elveden is the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police. This investigation is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

“It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding these cases at this time.”

The scandal has also claimed the scalp of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson; the Met chief resigned hours after Mrs Brooks arrest saying he carried “ultimate responsibility” for the questions the police faced over their links to the phone hacking scandal.

Stephenson had faced criticism over his links to former News of the World journalist Neil Wallis.  Wallis was hired as a PR consultant for the police after he left News International.  It has emerged that Sir Paul enjoyed a five week stay worth £12,000 at a luxury health farm for which Wallis was the PR earlier in the year.

The phone hacking scandal has plunged the Murdoch empire into crisis and has crossed the Atlantic where investigations are underway into allegations that communications of 9/11 relatives were intercepted.

The FBI has started an investigation and some legal experts have claimed that News Corp executives in the US could find themselves facing prison.  There are now very real fears for the Murdoch US media empire that includes Fox News and Dow Jones.