Detectives today searched the offices of Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun and arrested four journalists and a policeman in a widening probe into the bribing of police for information.
The development finally drags Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper into the turmoil at Murdoch’s empire, after its stablemate the News of the World was shut down in disgrace in July amid a scandal over phone hacking.
Police said they made the arrests after information was provided to police by Murdoch’s US-based News Corporation — in what commentators said was a clear effort by the company to detoxify the brand.
The BBC and the Guardian named the arrested Sun journalists as former deputy editor Fergus Shanahan, former managing editor Graham Dudman, current crime editor Mike Sullivan and current head of news Chris Pharo.
In an email to staff, Tom Mockridge, the chief executive of Murdoch’s British subsidiary News International, said Saturday the company had provided legal support to the arrested men.
Scotland Yard said it had arrested two men aged 49 and 57 in dawn raids at their homes in Essex, east of London, and a man aged 48 at his home in the capital.
A 42-year-old man was later arrested after reporting at a police station.
They were held on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both these offenses.
A 29-year-old from the force’s Territorial Policing command was arrested at the London police station where he works on suspicion of corruption, misconduct in a public office and conspiracy.
All five were granted bail late today.
Thirteen people have now been arrested under Operation Elveden, the police investigation into allegations that journalists paid officers for information.
Wow! This scandal is not dying down!