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Former newspaper CEO arrested in phone hacking scandal

Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International (NI) and former editor of the newspaper News of the World [media websites], was arrested Sunday by UK police on charges related to a wide-spread phone hacking scandal. Police arrested Brooks [BBC report] on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption. She was questioned and released on bail hours later. NI is a subsidiary of News Corporation (News Corp.) [media website], a conglomerate owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch [Forbes profile]. Brooks, 43, was editor of News of the World, also a News Corp. subsidiary, from 2000 to 2003 when the phone of murdered teen Amanda Dowler was hacked. Brooks, along with a number of high-ranking executives and journalists, have been arrested in relation to phone hacking allegations, some involving the tampering with phones of victims of the 9/11 [JURIST backgrounder] terrorist attacks. Brooks resigned [statement] from her post at NI on Friday as accusations mounted, and is the tenth person to be arrested in connection with the hacking scandal.

US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] announced last week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] will open an inquiry [JURIST report] into whether journalists working for News Corp. and its subsidiaries violated US laws by hacking into the mobile phones of 9/11 victims. British Prime Minister David Cameron [official website] announced last week that the UK would also initiate an inquiry [Conservatives report] into the alleged wrongdoing of the press and police in connection with the 9/11 phone hacking scandal, as well as a full-scale review of press regulations. Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives [official websites] called on US agencies to open the News Corp. investigation [JURIST report]. The requests come in response to an article [text] published in the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror [official website], claiming that journalists working for the company offered to pay a New York City police officer in exchange for victims' phone information and call details. Recent reports allege that journalists for the now-defunct News of the World paid London police officers for private information, including telephone records, to use in various news stories. The company could face additional charges under the accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) [background materials, PDF] for not properly recording any illicit transactions in their books.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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