Met’s ‘bribery’ investigation is one of three police probes into newspaper practices
By David Hencke | 4 July 2012
Scotland Yard has so far arrested and questioned 39 people over alleged ‘bribes’ paid by journalists to British police and other public officials. Three of them were arrested only today.
At least 19 journalists have been arrested and questioned. And at least another 17 officials – including police officers – have also been arrested.
The Metropolitan Police Service has made the arrests as part of ‘Operation Elveden’, its investigation into the alleged bribery of officials for information.
“Four serving police officers, an MoD official, an HMRC employee, a member of the armed forces and a former prison officer have been arrested”
Elveden is one of three closely-linked police investigations into media practices in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that resulted in the closure of the News of the World last July.
They are running in parallel with Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into newspaper practices. David Cameron, prime minister, ordered the inquiry following the red-top tabloid’s closure.
Exaro today reveals how, despite the scandal, police and other public officials are still being enticed to provide information for newspapers in return for cash.
Those arrested in Elveden include 13 journalists currently or formerly on The Sun, and another six who worked on the News of the World.
The highest-profile individuals arrested by Elveden’s officers so far are Andy Coulson, Cameron’s former press secretary, and former editor of the defunct Sunday tabloid, and Rebekah Brooks, who was chief executive of News International, owner of The Sun and the News of the World. Another was the former royal editor of the News of the World, Clive Goodman, who was jailed for four months in 2007 for using the private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, to intercept voicemail messages of three employees of the royal family.
Others arrested and questioned by Elveden detectives include The Sun’s former deputy editor, Fergus Shanahan, its former managing editor, Graham Dudman, and its head of news, Chris Pharo.
Four serving police officers, including a superintendent, a Ministry of Defence official, an employee of HM Revenue & Customs, a member of the armed forces and a former prison officer are among others who have been arrested and questioned.
A former NHS employee, believed to have been a nurse at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital in Berkshire, was the latest to be arrested last week by Elveden officers.
There have been no charges.
Brooks, her husband, Charlie Brooks, a racehorse trainer, and her former personal assistant, Cheryl Carter, are among six people to have been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by police in Scotland Yard’s ‘Operation Weeting’, which is investigating phone hacking.
Weeting has seen 25 arrests to date. Four were released without further action, while 18 others are on police bail.
The Crown Prosecution Service is assessing allegations of phone-hacking against 10 journalists, say police.
The third police investigation is ‘Operation Tuleta’, which is looking into allegations that computers were hacked by private investigators on behalf of journalists to obtain private information. Three men in their 50s were arrested and questioned. They are on police bail.
Weeting was set up in January 2011, followed by Elveden and Tuleta. All three investigations are led by Sue Akers, the Metropolitan Police’s deputy assistant commissioner.
Information that led to some arrests came from the management and standards committee of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, of which News International is currently a division. It is carrying out internal investigations at The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.