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New arrest in UK phone hacking probe

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:43 AM EDT, Thu March 15, 2012
A day after Rebekah Brooks' arrest, a 51-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of intimidation of a witness
A day after Rebekah Brooks' arrest, a 51-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of intimidation of a witness
  • A 51-year-old man is arrested on suspicion of intimidation of a witness, London police say
  • He was previously arrested on suspicion of intercepting voice mail messages
  • His rearrest comes a day after that of former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks
  • Police are investigating alleged misconduct by News International employees

London (CNN) -- A 51-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of intimidation of a witness in connection with an investigation into alleged phone hacking, London's Metropolitan Police said.

He is also suspected of encouraging or assisting an offense, the police statement said.

The man, who was not identified, was previously arrested on April 5 last year on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and unlawful interception of voice mail messages, the statement said.

He has been released on bail.

His arrest comes a day after that of Rebekah Brooks -- the former editor of the British tabloid News of the World and a confidante of its owner, Rupert Murdoch -- and five others on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Explain it to me: UK tabloid scandal
Former Murdoch executive rearrested
Brooks rearrested in phone-hacking probe

Dozens of current and former employees of News International, the News Corp. subsidiary that publishes Murdoch's British newspapers, have been arrested on suspicion of bribing police or illegally intercepting voice mail or e-mail. No one has been charged.

Accusations of widespread phone hacking on behalf of News of the World prompted its publisher to fold the publication last July.

Brooks had previously been arrested in connection with phone hacking and police bribery. She was released on bail Tuesday after a day of questioning.

The widening scandal has spawned three police investigations, two parliamentary committee investigations and an independent inquiry.

Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Wednesday released a copy of a letter sent to it by James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's son, who stepped down as chief executive of News International last month.

James Murdoch said he could have asked more questions of senior officers at the firm, but rejected the suggestion that his resignation as chief executive reflected unrevealed knowledge relating to the scandal.

"I take my share of responsibility for not uncovering wrongdoing earlier," he wrote in the letter, dated March 12.

"However, I have not misled Parliament. I did not know about, nor did I try to hide, wrongdoing. I do not believe the evidence before you supports any other conclusion."

Murdoch said he had resigned in order to focus on developing News Corp.'s television businesses from the company's New York base.

He has twice been called to testify before the committee in London about what he may have known of misconduct by staff at News International.

Police investigating phone hacking say that about 5,800 people, including celebrities, crime victims, politicians and members of the British royal family, may have been targets of the practice by journalists.

The hacking involved illegally eavesdropping on voice mail by entering a personal identification number to access messages remotely.

CNN's Richard Greene and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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