Another Sun arrest as Watson launches Murdoch book

Apr 19, 2012

Rebekah Brooks's office was bugged, claims MP, as she prepares to face hacking charge

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THINGS aren’t getting any brighter for the Murdoch empire after yet another Sun reporter was arrested over corruption allegations and it emerged that former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks could be one of the first people to face charges over the phone-hacking scandal.

The developments came on the same day that Labour MP Tom Watson launched his new book, Dial M for Murdoch, which paints News Corporation as a "toxic institution that has operated in Britain like a shadow state".

The book contains a series of allegations against Murdoch's papers and claims that the News of the World targeted members of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, on which he sits and which spearheaded the probe into media standards. Watson claims journalists were told to "find out everything" about them, including if they were gay or having affairs.

Watson also states that Rebekah Brooks's offices were bugged in June 2011, but it is unclear who by.

"Cleaners were warned to avoid disturbing listening devices placed under the table and by her computer in her office," states the book. But The Guardian is sceptical of the claim. "Cleaners told not to disturb listening devices? Not very plausible," it comments.

Elsewhere, Duncan Larcombe, the Sun's royal editor, was arrested at his home in Kent this morning by detectives from Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden. He was held on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Two other people were arrested in Lancashire. One is a former member of the Armed Forces and several papers make a connection by pointing out that Larcombe was the Sun's defence editor until last year.

"His arrest is another major blow for the Sun which now has 12 serving journalists on police bail after being arrested in the wake of the phone hacking scandal at the defunct News of the World," reports the London Evening Standard. "All have been held on suspicion of making illegal payments to public officials."

The timing of the raids could not have been much worse for News International. As The Daily Telegraph reports: "The arrests came a day after prosecutors announced that they were considering whether to bring charges against 11 suspects in the [phone hacking] scandal, after police handed over the first set of files from its investigation. The 11 suspects in the files are believed to include Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive."

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