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Ex-Murdoch aide Brooks arrested; Police chief out

Jul 17, 2011 8:03:00 PM - thestate.com
An intensifying voicemail hacking and police bribery scandal cut closer than ever to Rupert Murdoch and Scotland Yard on Sunday with the arrest of the media magnate's former British newspaper chief and the resignation of London's police commissioner.

Though the former executive, Rebekah Brooks, and the police chief, Paul Stephenson, have denied wrongdoing, both developments are ominous not only for Murdoch's News Corp., but for a British power structure that nurtured a cozy relationship with his papers for years.

Brooks, the ultimate social and political insider, dined at Christmas with Prime Minister David Cameron. His Conservative-led government is now facing increasing questions about its relationship with Murdoch's media empire.

The arrest of the 43-year-old Brooks, often described as a surrogate daughter to the 80-year-old Murdoch, brought the British police investigations into the media baron's inner circle for the first time. She was questioned and released on bail some 12 hours later, Scotland Yard announced early Monday.

It raises the possibility that Murdoch's old friend Les Hinton, who resigned Friday as publisher of The Wall Street Journal, or his 38-year-old son and heir apparent, James, could be next.

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