It’s not looking good for this Rebekah Brooks character:
The U.K. police investigation into alleged phone hacking took a dramatic turn Sunday with the arrest of Rebekah Brooks, the former chief of News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper unit who resigned Friday. London’s Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard, arrested her around noon Sunday when she appeared by appointment at a London police station. She hadn’t been charged.
It was the 10th arrest by police in a dual probe investigating allegations of voicemail interceptions and corrupt payments to police. The allegations focus on the News of the World, News Corp.’s Sunday tabloid that the company recently closed after 168 years amid an escalating scandal. By midafternoon on Sunday, Ms. Brooks remained in police custody along with her legal representation, according to a spokesman for the former News International chief executive. “She is assisting police at the moment,” the spokesman said, noting that the appointment with police was prearranged. “Until that’s completed, I can’t really say any more.”
Ms. Brooks is due to come under public scrutiny this week when she appears before a parliamentary committee alongside News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his son, James Murdoch, News Corp.’s deputy chief operating officer. The trio will face questioning from U.K. politicians about the hacking and whether executives previously misled parliament.
The News Corp. phone-hacking scandal involves allegations that the company’s News of the World tabloid illegally accessed mobile-phone voice mails and bribed police to get information. The scandal has been simmering for years but escalated to a new level recently with the allegation that the paper in 2002 hacked the phone of a missing 13-year-old girl who turned out to be dead.
Ms. Brooks had become the public face of the scandal and for many British lawmakers their chief target. Chris Bryant, the Labour lawmaker who has pushed the issue hardest, said he was “delighted” by the news, and that Ms. Brooks should have been arrested in 2003 when she told a parliamentary committee that News International had paid police officials.
Mr. Bryant thinks that police attention should now focus on James Murdoch, given he was privy to payments made to several people who had complained of phone hacking. “It feels as if the water is lapping around the feet of the Murdoch family now,” he said.