Thursday 14 December 2017

Rebekah Brooks released on police bail

Stephen Foley in London

The former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was released on police bail at midnight last night, 12 hours after her arrest. The 43-year-old was arrested by appointment at a London police station yesterday.

Ms Brooks (43), who quit her job on Friday, was being held on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and corruption allegations.

The potential for the Murdoch family to become embroiled in the police inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal increased yesterday when the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was arrested when she attended a police station in London expecting to be questioned as a witness.

Ms Brooks (43) was said to have suffered "quite a surprise" when detectives detained her on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemails and involvement in corrupt payments to police at around midday, some 72 hours after Rupert Murdoch caved in to growing political pressure and accepted her resignation.

The arrest of the former editor of 'The Sun' and the 'News of the World', who is a personal friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, brings Scotland Yard's investigation into alleged criminality at News International closer to James Murdoch, who oversaw NI as part of his role as chairman of News Corp for Europe and Asia.

It was reported that Operation Weeting, the Yard's inquiry into phone hacking, is investigating whether NI executives were involved in any alleged cover-up of the extent of voicemail eavesdropping at the NOTW.

It is understood that Weeting is exploring whether there is evidence of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice when emails dating back to 2006 were only made available to police in January.

The weekend departure of Les Hinton, a former executive chairman at NI, has left the Wapping operation more isolated than ever. Rupert Murdoch, under pressure to identify his successor, is virtually the sole cheerleader for the London-based papers, increasingly seen in New York as an embarrassment.

Michael Wolff, his biographer, suggested his control was waning. "If 10 is being all the way in charge, Rupert is at four and a half at this point," he said.

Nothing has undermined Mr Murdoch's iron hold over News Corp more than his failure to foresee how the UK PR catastrophe would infect his empire. It was the emergence of legal and political pressure in the US, and a sharp fall in the value of the company's shares that forced him to accept substantial outside help in managing the crisis. (©Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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