Twelfth arrest in phone hacking investigation

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by a Newsnet reporter

Yesterday the Metropolitan police released a statement saying that officers from Operation Weeting arrested a 61 year old man in connection with the investigation into the phone hacking and illegal payments to police officers allegedly made by employees of the News of the World.  The man is believed to be Greg Miskiw, former news editor with the paper.

Mr Miskiw is being held on suspicion of the unlawful interception of communications and conspiring to intercept communications contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.  He was arrested while attending a police station in London where he had been attending a pre-arranged interview with detectives.

It is understood that Mr Miskiw was one of the News of the World editorial staff who was mentioned in notes made by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who is at the centre of the phone hacking scandal.  

Mr Miskiw is notorious for stating, “That is what we do – we go out and destroy other people’s lives,” in response to a question about the ethics of journalistic practice at the News of the World.  Mr Miskiw left the newspaper in 2005 and was living in retirement in Florida.  Last month he announced that he was willing to return to the UK in order to assist police with their enquiries.

In June Mr Miskiw’s former partner Terenia Taras, who is also the mother of his son, was also arrested in connection with the investigation into the News of the World.  Ms Taras had worked for the paper as a freelance journalist.  She was released on bail.

In a separate development, the Metropolitan Police announced yesterday that the Head of Public Affairs with the force, Dick Fedorcio, has been placed on a period of extended leave.  The move came after it came to light that Mr Fedorcio is to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for alleged “gross misconduct”.

A statement from the Metropolitan police said:  “To allow Mr Fedorcio to prepare for the IPCC investigation it has been agreed that he can work from home on a period of extended leave until the matter is resolved.

“Mr Fedorcio also accepts that it would be inappropriate for him to continue to come into the office whilst there was on an going investigation and until other staff had been interviewed.”

Last month, the IPCC announced that it had been asked to investigate links between Mr Federcio’s and former News of the World executive Neil Wallis who has been arrested by officers from Operation Weeting.  In 2009 Mr Wallis’s company was given a contract to provide PR advice to the force.

It was also revealed yesterday that James Murdoch had been given until late last night to supply written answers to questions from the Culture, Media and Sport sub-committee.  The questions were put to Mr Murdoch in response to claims that some of the statements he made in front of the committee hearing last month were “mistaken”.   

Mr Murdoch had told the committee that he had not known until 2010 that phone hacking was being carried out by more than one ‘rogue reporter’.  However Mr Murdoch’s account of events was apparently contradicted by Colin Myler, a former editor of the News of the World, and Tom Crone, formerly the paper’s legal manager, who claimed they had informed Mr Murdoch in 2007 of an e-mail that undermined News Corp’s ‘rogue reporter’ defence.