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Phone hacking suspect arrested

Phone hacking suspect arrested


Detectives investigating phone hacking and police bribery at defunct British tabloid the News of the World on Tuesday arrested the newspaper's former managing editor, police and British media said.

He is the latest in a string of executives to be questioned about wrongdoing at the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper.

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

Sky News, which is 39 percent owned by Murdoch's News Corp, identified him as former News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner, who was managing editor of the News of the World for 22 years until he resigned in July 2009, taking charge of its finances and acting as the public face of the paper, which closed last month amid the hacking scandal.

The man was questioned on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, phone hacking and on suspicion of corruption, which relates to claims that journalists bribed police officers for information. He was released on bail a few hours later pending further questioning later this month, police said.

Police have so far arrested 11 people since launching a new hacking probe in January, including Murdoch's former British newspaper chief Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, an ex-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 had now admitted it was more widespread.

The scandal has sent shock waves through the media baron's global News Corp empire, forcing the resignations of Brooks and top US aide Les Hinton, and prompting the group to drop its bid for British pay-TV giant BSkyB.

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.

Police, who have been criticized for failing to uncover the extent of hacking in their original investigation, are now running parallel inquiries into hacking and police bribery.

Also on Tuesday, comedian Jonathan May-Bowles was jailed at a London court for six weeks after pleading guilty to assaulting Australian-born Murdoch during a parliamentary hearing on phone hacking on July 19.

The 26-year-old, who goes by the stage name of "Jonnie Marbles", splattered the 80-year-old tycoon with a plate of shaving foam.

"You attended with only one objective in mind, which was to disrupt proceedings," said District Judge Daphne Wickham, adding that May-Bowles must serve a minimum of three out of the six weeks.