Scotland Yard says they have arrested eight people today, including five employees of Rupert Murdoch's tabloid The Sun, as part of a bribery and corruption investigation, The New York Times reports. The five employees, all between the ages of 45 and 68, have not been identified, but the Times quotes an anonymous source who says they are "deputy editor, Geoff Webster; the chief reporter, John Kay; the chief foreign correspondent, Nick Parker; a picture editor, John Edwards; and a reporter, John Sturgis."
The arrests make a nice bookend to Murdoch's News of the World phone-hacking scandal of last summer -- though unlike that incident, The Sun, with a daily circulation of 2.7 million, will not shutter its hugely profitable operations. Murdoch put his full support behind this particular investigation, setting up an internal committee dedicated to ferreting out wrongdoing at the company. Their tip hotline, decried by employees as nothing more than a "witch-hunt," produced information that led to today's arrests.
Sun editor Dominic Mohan said he was "shocked" by the arrests but pledged to continue to churn out a steady stream of Page Three girls for the masses. From the BBC report:
Mr Mohan said: "I'm as shocked as anyone by today's arrests but am determined to lead the Sun through these difficult times.
"I have a brilliant staff and we have a duty to serve our readers and will continue to do that. Our focus is on putting out Monday's newspaper."
The arrests came following a search of private homes and in the News International offices located in east London. Besides the Sun employees, a 39-year-old Surrey Police officer, a 39-year-old Ministry of Defense employee, and a 36-year-old member of the armed forces were also "arrested at their homes on suspicion of corruption, misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to both," the BBC reports.
An internal memo circulated among the paper's dispirited staff from News International CEO Tom Mockridge informed them of Murdoch's "personal assurance" that he plans to continue to own and publish The Sun, MSN.uk reports:
"The Sun has a proud history of delivering ground-breaking journalism. You should know that I have had a personal assurance today from Rupert Murdoch about his total commitment to continue to own and publish The Sun newspaper."
Over the past months, News Corp has been reaching settlement agreement with some of the 800 News of the World phone hacking victims. Among them, actor and comedian Steve Coogan was paid $64,000, and Simon Hughes, a politician, received $72,000, according to The Press Association news agency.