British police arrest 'ex-Murdoch exec' over hacking

2nd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

British police investigating phone hacking on Tuesday arrested a man reported to be a former top executive at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid which closed last month amid the scandal.

The 71-year-old, named in reports as ex-News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner, was detained at 10:50 am (0950 GMT) at a north London police station on suspicion of phone hacking and bribing police, Scotland Yard said.

He was the 11th person arrested over the spiralling controversy, which has forced the resignation of two of Murdoch's top executives and sent shock waves through his global News Corp. media empire.

"Officers from Operation Weeting together with officers from Operation Elveden arrested a man on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications... and on suspicion of corruption allegations," said a Scotland Yard statement.

"The male was arrested by appointment at a north London police station. He is currently in custody."

Police refused to identify the arrested man but the Guardian newspaper, BBC and Sky News television reported that he was believed to be Kuttner.

Operation Weeting is the name of the Metropolitan Police's phone-hacking investigation and Operation Elveden is the probe into alleged police corruption.

As part of his job as managing editor, Kuttner would have been in charge of authorising payments to private detectives working for the paper, former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks told lawmakers last month.

Brooks quit as chief executive of the tabloid's publisher, News International, last month and was subsequently arrested over phone hacking and alleged corruption. She denies all wrongdoing.

Private detective Glenn Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 along with the tabloid's royal editor for phone hacking.

Police closed the inquiry and the evidence from Mulcaire's files lay untouched for several years, until they finally revived the probe in January amid mounting evidence that phone hacking was more widespread at the paper.

Several former journalists from the News of the World tabloid and News International have since been arrested over alleged hacking or police bribery.

The tabloid's ex-editor Andy Coulson, who also worked as Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief until January, was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking and corruption on July 8 and released on bail.

© 2011 AFP

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