Police hold 15th suspect in UK phone-hacking probe

LONDON (Reuters) – London police said Friday they had arrested a 34-year-old man as part of their probe into a phone-hacking scandal centered on the News of the World, one of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers.

The unidentified man was held on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Police said he had not been previously arrested as part of their intensive investigation, making him the 15th person to be held since they re-opened their inquiry into phone-hacking at the News of the World at the start of the year.

A number of senior figures, including former editorial staff on the now defunct paper, have been arrested over allegations journalists had illegally hacked into the voicemails of mobile phones of celebrities, politicians, and victims of crime and their families.

In 2007, the paper’s royal reporter, Clive Goodman, and a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, were jailed for accessing the voicemail messages of royal aides and other figures.

Mulcaire has been ordered by a court to reveal who ordered the hacking as part of legal action brought by one suspected victim, but so far this detail has been kept secret.

Meanwhile, executives from News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s News Corp empire, are facing accusations that they knew about the illegal activities at a far earlier date than they had previously admitted.

They include Murdoch’s son James, chairman of News International. A parliamentary committee investigating the allegations is to question four former senior News International executives next week and said they are likely to recall James Murdoch at a later date.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Tim Pearce)