LONDON — Six former journalists at News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid were arrested Wednesday as London police said they started a probe of a new conspiracy at the now-defunct newspaper.
Three men and three women suspected of voice-mail interception in 2005 and 2006 were arrested today and their homes are being searched, the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement. Two of the people are current employees of News Corp.’s Sun tabloid, Britain’s best-selling daily title.
Detectives “have identified a further suspected conspiracy to intercept telephone voice mails by a number of employees,” police said in the statement. “Officers will be making contact with people they believe have been victims.”
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World in July 2011 in response to public anger over the scandal. Prosecutors overseeing criminal cases against Rebekah Brooks — the former chief executive officer of News Corp.’s British publisher — and other ex-employees have said the title victimized more than 600 people between 2000 and 2006.
News Corp. spokesman Dan McMillan said in a phone call that two of the people arrested for phone hacking work at the Sun and declined to comment further.
Thirty-two people have been detained since the investigation, called Operation Weeting, started in January 2011. About 60 others have been arrested in a related probe into bribery by both News Corp. tabloids, particularly the Sun.
News Corp. has settled about 200 civil phone-hacking lawsuits. It faces as many as 100 more as police continue to notify victims, lawyers said at a London court hearing last week. A parallel criminal trial for Brooks and others is scheduled for later this year.
The company formally apologized to victims including British actor Hugh Grant and Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of Prince Andrew, to resolve another batch of claims at the Feb. 8 hearing.
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