British police arrest 5 in London tabloid bribery probe

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British authorities investigating potential cases of bribery of police arrested four current and former employees of News Corp.’s tabloid the Sun, the company said, deepening the media firm’s problems in a scandal involving illicit reporting tactics.

 

Murdoch

Murdoch

The focus on Sun employees expands a police probe that until now had focused largely on News Corp.’s now closed News of the World tabloid. A police officer also was arrested on Saturday in connection to the bribery probe, according to London’s Metropolitan Police.

While neither police nor the company named the employees, a person familiar with the matter indicated that some of the arrested have served in top roles in the Sun’s newsroom. They include Graham Dudman, who had been the paper’s managing editor before being promoted last year to a job as editorial development director at News International, the company’s U.K. newspaper unit.

In addition to Dudman, the arrested Sun employees are Mike Sullivan, Chris Pharo and Fergus Shanahan, according to a person familiar with the matter. Sullivan is the tabloid’s crime editor. Pharo last year was promoted to associate editor of news. In 2007, Shanahan was named executive editor of the paper, a senior editorial role. Shanahan previously had been deputy editor. The men couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.

Police said they also were carrying out searches at the east London offices of News International, the News Corp. unit that publishes the Sun and the Times of London. It also published the News of the World before it was closed down last summer amid the scandal over the tabloid’s practice of illegally intercepting voice-mail messages in pursuit of scoops.

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