London police have again arrested Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO of News International, the British newspaper wing of Rupert Murdoch’ media holdings. Brooks was arrested early this morning and is currently being questioned along with her husband, Charlie Brooks, a horse trainer and long-time friend of Prime Minister David Cameron.
Both Brooks and her husband were reportedly arrested at their home in Oxfordshire. Brooks herself had been previously arrested on July 17, 2011, on an appointment at a London police station, on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. This time, she has been arrested on suspicion to pervert the course of justice, says the Guardian. Four other people have also been arrested, three at their homes and one at a business address in East London.
The arrests did not result from information provided by News Corporation’s management and standards committee (MSC), which Murdoch’s company formed after numerous revelations of phone hacking — including the hacking of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemail — and corruption including bribes to police emerged last summer.
Prior to her resignation as chief executive of News International as the extent of the phone hacking scandal came to light, Rebekah Brooks had been the editor-in-chief of the now shuttered tabloid News of the World and also the editor of another Murdoch tabloid, The Sun. She is the highest-ranking News International official yet to be arrested, notes the New York Times. Andy Coulson, the former communications director for Cameron and a former NoW editor, was also arrested last summer as part of Operation Weeting, the London police’s investigation into hacking.
Brooks’s husband, Charlie, has known Cameron, who is to make his second official visit to the US this week, since their school days at Eton. Charlie Brooks was in the news last July in regard to an incident involving a laptop of his that had been left in a bag in a London underground parking garage near the Brooks’s apartment. Security guards found the bag, which also contained some papers, and contacted police; Charlie Brooks was unable to prove the items belonged to him. He said that he had “left the bag with a friend who was returning it, but dropped it in the wrong part of the garage.” He was also in the news last week after it emerged that the police had given his wife a retired police horse, Raisa, while she was working for News International, and that Cameron had ridden the horse while visiting the Brooks at their country estate.
As of this posting, Rupert Murdoch has not written anything on his Twitter feed since March 10, three days ago. His most recent tweet notes his looking forward to reading “Niall Ferguson’s new book, Civilization, The West and the Rest” of which he says “Bet lots to think about.” The Guardian begs to differ; the New York Times points out that the “book is the basis for a television series in Britain” and calls for a “return to a traditional education” based in the Great Books. All good to ways to preoccupy one’s thoughts when the present cares of one’s media empire are looking a bit troubled.
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