Eight held in corruption probe

 

Five employees of The Sun, a serving Surrey Police officer, a serving member of the armed forces and a Ministry of Defence employee were arrested today over allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.

Five men aged between 45 and 68 were arrested at addresses in London, Kent and Essex on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy in relation to both these offences. They are being questioned at police stations in London and Kent.

The men were named by Sky News as deputy editor Geoff Webster, chief reporter John Kay, picture editor John Edwards, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, and John Sturgis, who is a news editor.

A 39-year-old serving Surrey Police officer, a 39-year-old Ministry of Defence employee and a 36-year-old member of the armed forces were also arrested at their homes on suspicion of corruption, misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both.

They are being questioned, at police stations in London and Wiltshire.

A statement from News Corporation, parent company of News International which owns The Sun and The Times, confirmed that five employees of The Sun were among those arrested today.

It said its Management and Standards Committee (MSC) had provided information to the Elveden investigation which led to the arrests and had also provided the option of "immediate legal representation" to those arrested.

"News Corporation remains committed to ensuring that unacceptable news-gathering practices by individuals in the past will not be repeated and last summer authorised the MSC to co-operate with the relevant authorities," it said.

"The MSC will continue to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to protect legitimate journalistic privilege and sources, private or personal information and legal privilege.

"News Corporation maintains its total support to the ongoing work of the MSC and is committed to making certain that legitimate journalism is vigorously pursued in both the public interest and in full compliance with the law."

Officers from Operation Elveden made the arrests between 6am and 8am as part of the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.

Operation Elveden - which runs alongside the Met's Operation Weeting team - was launched as the phone-hacking scandal erupted last July with allegations about the now-defunct News of the World targeting Milly Dowler's mobile phone.

The home addresses of all eight suspects are being searched and officers are also carrying out searches at the offices of News International in Wapping, east London, the Metropolitan Police said.

Surrey Police confirmed a serving officer was arrested at the officer's home address today as part of Operation Elveden.

A spokesman said: "Surrey Police has been working closely with Operation Elveden since it was established in 2011, with a number of its officers seconded to the MPS to assist with the investigations.

"On learning about the involvement of one of its officers, the force immediately referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)."

Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby said: "The Force takes matters of this nature extremely seriously and we will not hesitate to respond robustly to allegations where there is evidence to support them."

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman today said: "We do not comment on ongoing investigations."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before