London police have arrested six individuals in last year's News of the World phone-hacking scandal, and one report claims former News Corp. exec Rebekah Brooks is among them.
Citing sources, Britain's Sky News is reporting today that London police have arrested Brooks. Scotland Yard confirmed that one 43-year-old woman had been arrested, but did not provide her name. Brooks, who is 43, was a close ally to News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, whose media conglomerate owned News of the World.
Last year's scandal, in which the newspaper was accused of hacking cell phones in order to dig up news, left News Corp. on the ropes and forced the company to shutter the epicenter of the controversy, News of the World.
The five men and one woman were arrested on "suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."
Brooks had been arrested last year in connection with the phone-hacking scandal. Prior to her arrest, she stepped down as chief executive of News Corp. newspaper unit News International, saying publicly that she felt a "deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt."
It was reported last July that a private investigator hired by News of the World was accused of hacking the phone of a 13-year-old girl who was abducted in 2002 and killed. At the time of the alleged hacking, Brooks was editor of News of the World.
The U.K.'s Guardian, which first reported the charges, said at the time that a private investigator allegedly deleted voice mails on the child's phone to make room for more messages. As a result, the girl's family falsely believed she was checking messages.
In subsequent investigations, News of the World was found to have allegedly hacked voice mails of victims of the 2005 London bombings, soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and families of other child victims. The hacks were reportedly used to deliver exclusive breaking news.
In October, News Corp. agreed to pay the family of the 13-year-old victim $3.2 million for its offenses. Murdoch said in a statement at the time that the "behavior that the News of the World exhibited towards the [girl's family] was abhorrent." His company also donated $1.6 million to charities chosen by the victim's family.
Following her arrest last summer on conspiracy and corruption charges, Brooks was released on bail and denied any involvement in the hacking.
London police did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on teh latest arrests.