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Journalist held in payments inquiry


A journalist was arrested today as part of Scotland Yard's inquiry into payments to public officials.

The 37-year-old became the 30th suspect in the Operation Elveden investigation after attending a police station by appointment this morning.

The Metropolitan Police said she is being held as a result of information provided to police by News Corporation's management and standards committee.

The woman is being questioned at a police station in Bromley, south-east London.

News Corp's management and standards committee is carrying out internal investigations relating to Rupert Murdoch's remaining UK papers - The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times - and is working closely with the detectives investigating alleged phone-hacking and corrupt payments to police and other public officials.

A total of 30 people have now been arrested since last July as part of Elveden, which is linked to Scotland Yard's phone-hacking investigation Operation Weeting.

A police statement said: "She was arrested shortly after 9am by officers from Operation Elveden, the MPS investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.

"The 37-year-old woman attended Bromley police station by appointment and was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, contrary to common law and suspicion of bribery, contrary to the Bribery Act 2010."

The development marks the first arrest by the force's phone-hacking squad since Rebekah Brooks and five other suspects were charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice earlier this month.

A 50-year-old employee of HM Revenue and Customs was arrested along with a 43-year-old woman at an address in north-west London by Elveden officers that same day.

A News International spokeswoman confirmed the arrested woman is a current employee of the company.

In an internal memo to staff, News International chief executive Tom Mockridge said: "I am sorry to inform you that a further News International employee has been arrested by the police in connection with Operation Elveden.

"She attended Bromley Police Station by appointment at 9am this morning.

"As I have said before, it is important that proper due process takes its course and we must not prejudge the outcome of the police interviews.

"The company is continuing to do everything it can to assist our colleague, and has provided her with legal support.

"I appreciate this is difficult news for everyone and I am grateful for your continued hard work."