Reports: News International Ex-Head Brooks Arrested
by: NPR Staff and Wires, NPR, July 17, 2011 7:07:00 am
British police investigating phone hacking and police bribery by the defunct tabloid News of the World arrested a 43-year-old woman Sunday who British media identified as Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch's former British CEO.
London police do not identify suspects until they are charged. Sky News and the BBC said the suspect was Brooks, the former News of the World editor who stepped down Friday as head of Murdoch's British newspapers.
Brooks is the 10th and most senior Murdoch associate to be arrested so far in two ongoing Scotland Yard investigations into phone hacking and paying police for information.
Police have already arrested nine other people connected to Murdoch's British media empire over allegations that the News of the World hacked into the phone voice mails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims. No one has yet been charged.
The latest arrest comes just two days before Brooks is due to answer questions from a parliamentary committee investigating the hacking. Rupert Murdoch and his son James are also due to give evidence.
Brooks was editor at the now-closed News of the World between 2000 and 2003, when some of the hacking took place. She then went on to edit Murdoch's Sun newspaper before being promoted to CEO of News International. Brooks resigned that post Friday, despite Murdoch's desperate attempts to protect his protégé of 22 years.
Brooks was arrested by appointment, which means she came to an agreed London police station on her own volition. Her spokesman says "Rebekah is assisting the police with their enquiries."
At an appearance before lawmakers in 2003, Brooks admitted that News International had paid police for information. That admission of possible illegal activity went largely unchallenged and, at the time, little noticed.
The arrest also piles more pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, a friend and neighbor of Brooks who has met with her many times and invited her to stay at his official country retreat.