Scotland Yard communications chief Dick Fedorcio has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over his relationship with hacking suspect Neil Wallis, his force said today.
The Metropolitan Police (MPS) said in a statement: "The context of this referral is in connection with the ongoing high-level public interest in the relationship between News International and the MPS and, in particular, the relationship between Neil Wallis and Mr Fedorcio and the circumstances under which the contract was awarded to Chamy Media."
Chamy is Mr Wallis's PR firm.
The referral comes on the day that Mr Fedorcio, Scotland Yard's director of public affairs, is to give evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee, alongside Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates.
The IPCC said in a statement it will independently investigate the relationship between Mr Wallis and Mr Fedorcio, "focusing on the circumstances under which the contract for senior level media advice and support contract was awarded to Chamy Media".
Deputy chairwoman and commissioner for London Deborah Glass said: "This is the fifth referral the IPCC has received in 24 hours in relation to senior officers and staff from the Metropolitan Police Service.
"Although some of these cases might not, in other circumstances, meet the criteria for an independent investigation, I have taken the view that in light of the huge public interest and the obvious implications for public confidence in the Metropolitan Police, it would not be appropriate for the police themselves to investigate them. We will therefore use our own investigators to look into any allegations of serious misconduct.
"I am mindful of the other inquiries, and in particular the public inquiry which will, among other things, examine the relationship between police and the media.
"Yesterday we received referrals from the MPA which were wide-ranging. I will seek to liaise with Lord Justice Leveson as soon as possible to ensure all the cases referred to the IPCC are examined as effectively as possible in the most appropriate arena.
"There may be aspects of those referrals which will be covered by the public inquiry and which would not be practical for the IPCC to independently investigate as well."