British police arrested three people Thursday as part of an inquiry into accusations of bribery stemming from the news gathering and corruption scandal that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, police said, bringing to 46 the number of arrests during more than a year of investigations.
The arrests came as a separate judicial investigation into the behavior of journalists at Murdoch’s British newspapers said that he and his son James would testify in separate appearances before the panel next week.
Police did not identify the suspects but described them in a statement as a 36-year-old man living in Kent, arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt a public official; a 42-year-old former member of the armed forces in Lancashire, arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office; and a 38-year-old woman living at the same address in Lancashire, suspected of aiding in that misconduct. The police said they were searching both residences.
Murdoch’s company, the News Corp., said one of its journalists at The Sun tabloid had been among those arrested Thursday, though no name was given, news agencies reported. British news media identified the journalist as Duncan Larcombe, 36, the paper’s royal editor.
Nine others at the newspaper were arrested earlier this year, dragging The Sun, the country’s best-selling daily, onto the main stage from the fringes of the news-gathering scandal that led to the closing last year of its sister tabloid, The News of the World.
Information provided by a special team created by News Corp. to investigate accusations of wrongdoing led to the arrests Thursday, police said. The previous arrests at the paper were also aided by information given to the police by the company’s team, known as the Management and Standards Committee.
So far, police said, 26 people have been arrested and questioned in the investigation into corruption and bribery. Another 20 have been arrested in separate inquiries into phone and computer hacking by journalists at News Corp.’s British news operation, News International.
One of those inquiries, headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, said it would hear evidence from Rupert Murdoch on Wednesday and possibly on Thursday, as well. His son James was set to testify on Tuesday.
Both men testified during a Parliamentary hearing last July on phone hacking at News International. The proceedings, which were televised and closely followed on the Internet, were briefly interrupted when a protester threw a plate of shaving cream into Rupert Murdoch’s face.