UK Police Arrest Man Over Hacking Allegations

August 3, 2011

Police investigating phone hacking and police bribery at defunct British tabloid News of the World on Tuesday arrested a man, believed to be a former executive at the newspaper.

The Metropolitan Police said a 71-year-old man had been arrested by appointment Tuesday morning at a London police station. They did not name him, in keeping with British police practice of not identifying suspects who have not been charged.

Sky News, which is 39 percent owned by the newspaper’s parent company, News Corp., identified him as former News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner.

Kuttner retired in 2009 after 29 years at the News of the World as managing editor.

News International – Murdoch’s British newspaper division – would not confirm the arrested man’s identity.

Police said he was in custody and being questioned on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications – phone hacking – and on suspicion of corruption.

Detectives investigating claims the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper illegally eavesdropped on the phone messages of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims have previously arrested 10 people, including Murdoch’s British newspaper chief Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor who went on to be Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief.

Coulson was the paper’s editor when royal reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were arrested and jailed in 2007 for hacking the phones of royal staff. The newspaper claimed for years that hacking was limited to those two rogue staff, but have now admitted it was more widespread.

All those arrested have been released on bail and no one has yet been charged.

Murdoch closed down the 168-year-old News of the World last month in an attempt to contain the spreading scandal, which has forced him to abandon a bid for full control of British Sky Broadcasting and accept the resignations of two top executives – Brooks and Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton.

It has also triggered the resignation of Britain’s most senior police officers amid claims of too-cozy ties between the London force and News International.

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