Brits arrest Murdoch’s chief international executive

It’s a perfect Fox News story. The head of a major media corporation with close ties to the country’s leading liberal party is arrested for corruption, threatening to bring down a media empire with close ties to two Labour Party administrations.

But there’s one small problem. The media empire played a major role in skewing the party to the right, and it’s equally close to the country’s conservative parties, benefiting equally from both.

Rebekah Brooks, 43, had just resigned Friday as chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International. She was allowed to surrender herself to police today, the latest victim of a criminal scandal that’s inching its way closer to the top of the media empire.

Police issued a brief statement, reported by The Guardian:

At approximately 12.00 a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting [phone hacking investigation] together with officers from Operation Elveden [bribing of police officers investigation]. She is currently in custody.

She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

“The Operation Weeting team is conducting the new investigation into phone hacking.

Operation Elveden is the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police. This investigation is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding these cases at this time.

The scandal has already claimed its first casualty on this side of the Atlantic, with Friday’s resignation of Les Hinton, CEO of Murdoch’s Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

The scandal could go all the way to the top, if a newly launched FBI investigations finds that the company violated Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which criminalizes bribery of foreign officials by American corporations.

News International is a subsidiary of U.S.-based News Corp., and bribery of British police is one of the many allegations now swirling around the operation Brooks headed.

While Murdoch is an Australian native who built an empire from the newspaper chain he inherited from his father, the man the British press have dubbed the Dirty Digger. He took up American citizenship to satisfy a critical legal requirement: Only U.S. citizens can own television stations. No citizenship, no Fox News.


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