March 14, 2012
Six People Reportedly Arrested In Connection To News Corp.'s Phone-Hacking Scandal — Including Former Top Exec Rebekah Brooks: British Police Cite "Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice" As Chief Charge
Citing suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, British police made six arrests on Tuesday in an ongoing investigation into the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Among those arrested was Rebekah Brooks, the former top executive of News Corp.'s News International division in the UK, as well as her husband, horse trainer Charlie Brooks. News International confirmed that its head of security, Mark Hanna, was also one of those arrested, the LA Times reports. The conspiracy charge is an indication that investigators may be focusing on a possible cover-up of the scope of phone hacking. Although some of the names of those arrested have not been released, the Metropolitan Police said five men and a woman were arrested in various locations in and around London in a series of raids conducted between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Charlie Brooks is reportedly a friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who recently described Brooks as "a good friend" and neighbor. The two have gone riding together in the countryside outside the Brooks' hometown of Chipping Norton. A judge-led inquiry into media ethics has heard extensive testimony about wrongdoing by tabloid journalists, and Murdoch's company has reached cash settlements with various hacking victims, including actress Sienna Miller and singer Charlotte Church, but many new cases are being brought against News International. There is also a simultaneous investigation into corrupt relations between the police and the press, which has yielded a number of arrests in recent weeks. An inquiry panel appointed by Cameron is trying to determine why an initial police investigation into phone hacking in 2006 failed to reveal the scope of the problem. At the time, Murdoch's executives claimed the wrongdoing was limited to one scurrilous reporter and an unprincipled private detective, both of whom were jailed. The dormant police investigation was reopened last year after reporters were found to have hacked into the voicemail of a missing schoolgirl who was later found to have been murdered, the Times reports.
The investigation stems from widespread wrongdoing at Rupert Murdoch's now-closed News of the World tabloid. The victims have ranged from celebrities and major politicians to the families of crime victims. Police also on Tuesday arrested a 39-year-old man in Hampshire, a 46-year-old man in West London, a 38-year-old man in Hertforshire and a 48-year-old man in East London, the LA Times reports.
An earlier investigation led to the resignation of Cameron's top media adviser, Andy Coulson, who had been the editor of the News of the World. It also led to the arrest of Brooks, who was later released on bail. Both have denied wrongdoing, the article reports.