Friday 15 December 2017

Phone hacking: News of the World Hollywood reporter arrested

James Kirkup

A former News of the World Hollywood reporter has been arrested over phone-hacking allegations, which may deepen Rupert Murdoch’s troubles in the US.

James Desborough, a showbusiness reporter at the paper was arrested this morning in London.

He is the 13th person arrested over allegations that journalists working there illegally accessed private voicemail messages.

His arrest may attract particular attention because from April 2009, he worked in Los Angeles for the tabloid covering the US celebrity scene.

Claims that NotW staff carried out hacking and other illegal activities have raised a major legal and political threat to News Corp, the paper’s New York-based global parent company.

US authorities are said to be considering allegations – so far unproven -- that the paper illegally targeted the voicemails of survivors of the September 11 attacks.

Technical experts say it is at least as easy to hack US voicemails as British accounts. Some US mobile networks do not access customers to set a PIN code to access their messages.

Some US lawyers have suggested that Rupert Murdoch, News Corp’s founder, could even face personal prosecution in the American courts because of the actions of his British staff.

Mr Desborough’s name last appeared in the NotW last month, weeks before its closure.

It is understood that he was arrested at a south London police station having attended voluntarily to answer questions about the hacking scandal.

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