Andy Coulson, a past editor of News Corp. (NWSA:US)’s News of the World and former press chief to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, was arrested and charged with perjury, Scottish police said.
Coulson, 44, was detained yesterday and following an interview was arrested and charged, Sergeant Jim Telford of Scotland’s Strathclyde Police said today in a phone interview. Coulson was then released, Telford said.
“A report will be submitted to the procurator,” Telford said, referring to the prosecutor.
The case stems from the perjury and libel trials of former Scottish lawmaker Tommy Sheridan. Sheridan, the former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2011 for perjury at a trial at which Coulson denied there was a culture of phone hacking at his newspaper and said he had no knowledge of illegal activities by reporters.
Coulson was previously arrested by London police as part of their investigation of phone-hacking at the now-defunct tabloid.
Jo Rickards, Coulson’s lawyer, declined to comment on the matter.
Sheridan was found guilty of perjury during a defamation case against the News of the World at the Glasgow High Court in 2010. He had won 200,000 pounds ($310,000) in damages from the tabloid newspaper in 2006 over stories about adultery and visiting swingers clubs. Sheridan denied the allegations.
Aamer Anwar, who represented Sheridan during the libel trial, said in a statement to the U.K. Press Association that in July he gave Scottish police a file related to phone hacking and perjury in the case.
“At the time I said that nobody was above the law and we expected a rigorous and robust investigation,” Anwar said in the Press Association statement.
Coulson quit as editor of the News of the World in 2007 after former private detective Glenn Mulcaire and reporter Clive Goodman pleaded guilty to phone hacking at the newspaper. He lost a lawsuit in December to have his legal fees covered by the company as he faces the criminal phone-hacking probe.
News Corp. closed the News of the World in July after police investigations and civil lawsuits revealed the practice went beyond Goodman and Mulcaire. The newspaper accessed the voice-mail messages of celebrities, crime victims and politicians for stories while Coulson was in charge of the weekly tabloid.
Cameron appointed Coulson as press chief in 2010, a role he quit in 2011 as the phone-hacking scandal gained public attention. Coulson was later arrested.
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