* Four arrested are current or former staff of Sun daily
* Police officer also arrested
* Probe into allegations reporters paid police for
* Internal investigation into Sun is well advanced, CEO says
By Tim Castle and Georgina Prodhan
LONDON, Jan 28 British police arrested
four current and former staff of Rupert Murdoch's best-selling
Sun tabloid plus a policeman on Saturday as part of an
investigation into suspected payments by journalists to
officers, police and the newspaper's publisher said.
Police also searched the paper's London offices at publisher
News International, News Corp's British arm, in a
corruption probe linked to a continuing investigation into phone
hacking at its now closed News of the World weekly tabloid.
News Corp's Management and Standards Committee, set up in
the wake of the phone hacking scandal, said Saturday's operation
was the result of information it had passed to police.
"News Corporation made a commitment last summer that
unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past
would not be repeated," the committee said in a statement
confirming the arrests of four "current and former employees" of
The committee is conducting a lawyer-led internal review of
News International's remaining titles, which also include The
Times and The Sunday Times newspapers, as part of a drive to
mend the reputational damage done by the phone hacking scandal.
The committee's investigation into The Sun was
"well advanced", News International chief executive Tom
Mockridge said in an email sent to staff.
"News International is confronting past mistakes and is
making fundamental changes about how we operate which are
essential for our business.
"Despite this very difficult news, we are determined that
News International will emerge a stronger and more trusted
organisation," he added.
News International was providing legal support for the four
arrested "colleagues", Mockridge said.
The arrests included The Sun's crime editor Mike Sullivan,
its head of news Chris Pharo, and former deputy editor Fergus
Shanahan, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Also arrested was the paper's former managing editor Graham
Dudman, now a training director at News International, the
Police said a 48-year-old man from north London and two
other men from Essex, east of London, aged 48 and 56, were
arrested at their homes. The fourth man, aged 42, was arrested
after reporting to an east London police station.
A Sun reporter, who asked not to be named, said: "Everyone
is a bit shocked, there is disbelief really. But there is a big
difference between phone hacking and payments to the police."
A 29-year-old policeman serving with the Met Police's
Territorial Policing Command, was arrested at the central London
police station where he worked.
All five were being questioned on suspicion of corruption.
Police searched the arrested men's homes as well as The
Sun's offices in Wapping, east London.
Thirteen people have now been arrested over allegations that
journalists paid police in return for information.
Their detentions are part of Operation Elveden - one of
three criminal investigations into news-gathering practices.
Last week, News International settled a string of legal
claims after it admitted that people working for the tabloid had
hacked in to the private phones of celebrities and others to
The phone hacking scandal drew attention to the level of
political influence held by editors and executives at News
International, and other newspapers in Britain.
It embarrassed British politicians for their close ties with
newspaper executives and also the police, who repeatedly failed
to investigate allegations of illegal phone hacking.