London — The British police on Sunday arrested Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Rupert Murdoch’s media operations in Britain, according to a former associate at News International, the newspaper group at the heart of a phone-hacking scandal convulsing the Murdoch empire, the British political elite and the police.
A police statement did not identify her by name but said a 43-year-old woman had been detained for questioning by officers investigating both the phone-hacking scandal and payments made to corrupt police officers. A News International official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Ms. Brooks had been arrested.
Britain’s Press Association news agency said she was arrested by appointment at a London police station at approximately midday and remains in custody.
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The move came just two days after the embattled Ms. Brooks quit as chief executive at News International, the latest maneuver as the Murdoch family struggled to contain the fallout from a scandal.
It also came two days before Ms. Brooks was to join Rupert Murdoch and his son James to testify before a parliamentary panel investigating the phone-hacking scandal that has erupted in the two weeks since reports emerged that The News of the World, once the top-selling Sunday tabloid and a central part of the Murdoch outpost in Britain, ordered the hacking of the phone of a 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, who was abducted and murdered.
Ms. Brooks was editor of the newspaper at the time but has denied knowledge of phone-hacking. In response to the crisis, the Murdoch family has closed The News of the World and withdrawn a $12 billion bid to assume control of Britain’s biggest satellite broadcaster.