Senior UK policeman cleared over hacking links

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Scotland Yard's former counter-terrorism chief was cleared on Monday of misconduct over allegations that he obtained a job for the daughter of a suspect in the British phone hacking scandal.

Britain's police watchdog said there was no evidence of misconduct which would justify disciplinary proceedings over the claims against John Yates, who resigned as assistant commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police in July.

Yates was one of a number of Scotland Yard chiefs forced to resign in the scandal over the hacking of voicemails by private investigators working for the News of the World.

He was cleared in August of misconduct in relation to the hacking scandal, but the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said then it was still probing his relationship with ex-News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis.

Wallis worked as a public relations consultant at Scotland Yard between 2009 and 2010 after leaving the News of the World, a weekly tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch that was shut down in July over the hacking scandal.

Wallis was arrested and released on bail in July on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

On Monday, the IPCC said it had found "no evidence of misconduct which would justify disciplinary proceedings in relation to allegations about forwarding a CV for the purposes of employment at the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service).

"The final report which will confirm these findings will be finalised in the coming weeks."

Yates said he was "extremely pleased" at the decision.

"As I stated at the time of my resignation, I acted with complete integrity and my conscience is clear. It is a matter of great regret that these referrals forced my premature resignation," he added.

In August, former Met Commissioner Paul Stephenson and ex-assistants Yates, Andy Hayman and Peter Clarke were cleared of misconduct relating to the force's inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World.

This was despite the "damaging effect of the perceived inadequate response" to criminal activities at the tabloid, the IPCC said then.

Scotland Yard reopened its investigations into phone hacking hacking only in January 2011 -- a full four years after the initial jailing of the paper's former royal editor and a private investigator.

A judge-led inquiry into the hacking scandal opened Monday and heard the practice of hacking was more widespread than thought at Murdoch papers and that The Sun and the Daily Mirror -- a tabloid not owned by Murdoch -- may also have been involved.

© 2011 AFP

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