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Ex-police officer arrested in media bribery probe

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 2:17 PM EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
The retired officer had served in the Metropolitan Police Service's Specialist Operations command.
The retired officer had served in the Metropolitan Police Service's Specialist Operations command.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The former police officer is released on bail pending further inquiries, police say
  • The retired officer worked for the Metropolitan Police's Special Operations command
  • Its responsibilities include counterterrorism, protecting the royal family and airport security
  • Linked police inquiries are investigating claims of police bribery and phone hacking

London (CNN) -- A former police officer was arrested Thursday by officers investigating alleged corrupt payments to police and public officials by the media, in an inquiry linked to a phone-hacking scandal, the Metropolitan Police said.

The 57-year-old man, who retired several years ago, had served in the Metropolitan Police Service's Specialist Operations command, based in central London, police said.

The Special Operations unit deals with counterterrorism, security -- including for airports and Parliament buildings -- and protection for the royal family, ministers and public officials.

The Metropolitan Police declined to say in which area the suspect had worked.

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He was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office at his home address in Surrey, near London, police said.

The man was questioned and his home was searched, police said. He was released on bail Thursday afternoon pending further inquiries.

His arrest was made as part of Operation Elveden, an investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials, which is running alongside the police probe of alleged hacking of voice mail messages.

The arrest is the result of information provided to police by News Corp.'s Management Standards Committee, an internal panel set up to probe claims of misconduct by News Corp. employees.

"It relates to suspected payments to a former police officer and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately," the police statement said.

Dozens of arrests have been made in connection with the police inquiries into the alleged hacking of voice mail and e-mail and bribery of officials, but no one has been charged.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is under scrutiny in Britain and the United States over the conduct of its journalists.

CNN's Laura Perez Maestro and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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