A journalist from Britain’s best--selling newspaper the Sun, reportedly its royal editor, was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of illegally paying public officials, police said.
The 36-year-old journalist was detained in a dawn swoop at his home in Kent, southeast England, while a 42-year-old male former armed forces member and a 38-year-old woman were arrested at their home in Lancashire, northwest England.
All three were later bailed until July, police said on Thursday.
“A Sun journalist has been -arrested,” confirmed a spokeswoman for News International, the British newspaper publishing arm of media baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
British media named him as the daily tabloid’s royal editor Duncan Larcombe.
The journalist was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.
The former serviceman was detained on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, and the woman on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.
The addresses of those held were being searched.
Police said the arrests were prompted by information provided by News Corp’s Management Standards Committee.
The independent body was set up to carry out internal investigations at News International in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World tabloid.
Thursday’s police operation “relates to suspected payments to a public official and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately,” Scotland Yard said.
A total of 26 people have now been arrested since July last year as part of the probe into alleged inappropriate payments to public officials, which is linked to Scotland Yard’s continuing phone-hacking investigation.
British police this week handed prosecutors files on 11 suspects, which could lead to the first charges from the widespread probe into News International’s activities.
Four journalists, one police officer and six other people feature in the four files being considered by the Crown Prosecution Service.