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Saturday, 28 January 2012

Four held in police payments probe

15:57 |


Detectives investigating the suspected payment of police for information on Saturday arrested a serving police officer and four staff from Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper, Rupert Murdoch's The Sun. The investigation is linked to the police probe into phone-hacking at The Sun's former stablemate, the News of the World, which Murdoch shut down in July following revelations that hundreds of public figures had been targeted. London's Metropolitan Police said it had arrested five people, including a 29-year-old from the force's Territorial Policing command, and had also searched the offices in Wapping, east London, where The Sun is based. In a separate statement, Murdoch's News Corporation confirmed the other four men arrested either worked or used to work at The Sun, adding that the detentions were prompted by information it had provided to police. Thirteen people have now been arrested under Operation Elveden, the police investigation into allegations that journalists paid officers for information. It was sparked by concerns about the working practices of the British press after the News of the World scandal and runs alongside Operation Weeting, the probe into phone hacking under which 17 arrests have so far been made. The scandal at the News of the World erupted in July when it emerged that journalists had listened to the voicemails not just of celebrities and politicians but also murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Amid public outrage, Murdoch closed down the 168-year-old weekly and set up a committee to review all its British titles for evidence of wrongdoing. "News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated," the US-based company said in a statement Saturday. "It commissioned the Management and Standards Committee to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively cooperate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles. "As a result of that review, which is ongoing, the MSC provided information to the Elveden investigation which led to today's arrests." The scandal also prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to order a wide-ranging inquiry into the practices and ethics of the press, which began hearings at the end of last year. Police said two men aged 48 and one aged 56 were arrested at dawn in London and Essex, near the capital, on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both offences. Another man, aged 42, was arrested at a police station on similar grounds. The News Corporation statement added: "Metropolitan Police Service officers from Operation Elveden today arrested four current and former employees from The Sun newspaper. "Searches have also taken place at the homes and offices of those arrested." Police said the serving officer was held at the central London police station where he worked, accused of corruption, misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both these offences.

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