Officers from Operation Elveden made five arrests over the weekend, bringing the total number made by the investigation to 13Copyright: Alberto OG on Flickr. Some rights reserved
Officers from Operation Elveden, the police operation tasked with investigating payments to police officers, also made a fifth arrest over the weekend, that of a Metropolitan police service officer.
According to a statement from the Metropolitan police, four arrests were made on Saturday (28 January) "on suspicion of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office (contrary to common law) and conspiracy in relation to both these offences".
Those arrested have been bailed "pending further enquiries", two until April and the other two until May.
The four past and present Sun staff have not been named by police or News Corporation but were widely identified in the press over the weekend as crime editor Mike Sullivan, head of news Chris Pharo, former deputy editor and now executive editor Fergus Shanahan and former managing editor Graham Dudman, who according to reports is now editorial development director at News International.
The fifth arrest, that of the serving police officer, was made "on suspicion of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office (contrary to common law) and conspiracy in relation to both these offences". He also bailed until April.
The MPS said this weekend's arrests were related to "suspected payments to police officers and [were] not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately."
News Corporation, the parent company of News International, issued a statement to say four of the arrests were of current and former employees.
The company added that its management and standards committee (MSC) "provided information to the Elveden investigation which led to [Saturday's] arrests."
"News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated.
"It commissioned the management and standards committee (MSC) to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively co-operate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles."
The company added that it could not make any comment as to "the nature of that information to avoid prejudicing the investigation and the rights of individuals".
"The MSC gave the MPS every assistance during the searches of News International premises while ensuring that all appropriate steps were taken to protect legal and journalistic privilege.
"It also provided the option of immediate legal representation to those arrested."
Earlier this month the Independent Police Complaints Commission arrested a former Metropolitan police officer over alleged leaks to a journalist, based on information passed to it by Operation Elveden.
The latest arrests bring the total made by the MPS as part of Operation Elveden to 13.