REUTERS - A scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp threatened to spread to more than one title on Friday as sources said a journalist at the Sun newspaper had been arrested over allegations of police bribery.
Police investigating events at the News of the World tabloid after a phone hacking scandal said they had arrested a 48-year-old in connection with payments made to police. A spokesman for News Corp’s British newspaper arm News International said an employee had been arrested.
Two company sources identified the man as senior Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt, a journalist who covered the 2002 kidnap and murder of British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, a case which played a key part in the hacking scandal this year.
The Sun, Britain’s largest circulation daily newspaper, is the sister paper to the 168-year-old weekly News of the World, which News Corp shut down at the height of the storm in July.
News Corp was forced to act after its long-held defence that hacking was carried out by one ‘rogue’ reporter collapsed, in part over the revelation that it had hacked into the phone of the missing Dowler and deleted her messages, giving her family false hope that she was still alive.
News of the arrest of a Sun journalist will come as a blow to the group, which has consistently argued that the illegal practices of snooping on people’s phone messages and paying off the police were restricted to the News of the World.