Six journalists and police officer arrested in News Corp corruption investigation
Four current and former senior Sun journalists and one serving police officer have been arrested as part of Scotland Yard’s investigation into police corruption.
The Metropolitan police have also launched a search at News International’s headquarters in Wapping, east London, in an attempt to secure any potential evidence relating to alleged payments to police by journalists.
Officers were accompanied by lawyers who arrived at the Sun’s offices between 6am and 8am on Saturday morning. They are there to ensure that “journalist privilege” in relation to sources is not compromised.
It is the first time since the phone-hacking scandal erupted that the Sun has been targeted in such a major way, but sources stressed the dawn raid had nothing to do with voicemail interception and was solely related to paying police for stories.
The four Sun employees arrested are understood to be Mike Sullivan, the Sun’s crime editor, the former managing editor Graham Dudman, the executive editor, Fergus Shanahan, and Chris Pharo, a newsdesk executive.
The arrests came after information was passed to the police by News Corporation’s internal investigations unit, the Management and Standards Committee. It was set up by Rupert Murdoch in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, which erupted last July, and operates independently of News International.
It is understood that staff and management at the Sun had no warning of the police plans to make arrests or conduct a search of the paper’s newsroom.
A statement from News Corp in New York said: “Metropolitan police service (MPS) 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.
“News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated.
“It commissioned the Management and Standards Committee to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively co-operate 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.
“No comment can be made on the nature of that information to avoid prejudicing the investigation and the rights of individuals.”
The Management and Standards Committee has been charged with ridding the company of old practices and illegal activities such as phone hacking which led to the abrupt closure of the News of the World in July after 168 years. One source said. “They are there to drain the swamp.”