News Corp. (NWSA:US)’s tabloid bribery scandal in Britain led to the arrest today of a former employee of the U.K.’s National Health Service, the state-funded medical system. Three dozen people have been detained in the probe.
A 31-year-old man was arrested at his home in Uxbridge, on the outskirts of London, on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement, without identifying him. The investigation involves public employees selling information to journalists.
The probe, known as Operation Elveden, is running parallel to investigations into phone hacking and computer hacking by reporters and editors at News Corp.’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid and the Sun newspaper, Britain’s best-selling daily title. The bribery arrests have focused on the Sun.
More than 50 people have been arrested in probes that are underway as New York-based News Corp. considers splitting the company to separate its publishing unit. Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, was charged last month with perverting the course of justice in the phone-hacking case. She has denied the claims.
A spokesman for the U.K. Department of Health, which oversees the NHS, declined to comment on the arrest, citing the organization’s policy on ongoing criminal investigations. He asked not to be identified, citing the same policy.
The NHS was previously caught up in the News Corp. scandal after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown told a media-ethics inquiry earlier this month that the Sun wrongfully accessed his son’s medical records to report the child being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. He said the NHS in Fife, Scotland, had apologized to him over a likely leak by its staff.
Brown disputed claims by Brooks at the same inquiry that she obtained his permission to run the story.
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