Former News of The World Managing Editor Stuart Kuttner Arrested in Phone-Hacking Inquiry
The spotlight could now fall on former Dow Jones boss Les Hinton, who resigned last month and who was in charge of News International for years.
LONDON - Former News of The World managing director Stuart Kuttner became the latest to be arrested in the phone-hacking scandal Tuesday.
Kuttner, who is 71 and retired after 22 years at the paper in 2009, was arrested at a pre-arranged meeting at a London police station where he was detained on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1 (1) Criminal Law Act 1977, and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
These are thought to be same charges brought against former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks last month.
As managing editor of the tabloid paper famous for scoops like Sarah Ferguson's affair with a Texan billionaire and the sexual peccadilloes of a multitude of domestic politicians, Kuttner was one of the few executives who spoke publicly on behalf of the newspaper.
In 2008, after the newspaper's Royal editor Clive Goodman was arrested for his role in hacking phone messages of Prince William and Prince Harry, Kuttner told the BBC that the event had been an isolated one.
"It happened once at The News of The World. The reporter was fired. He went to prison. The editor resigned," he told BBC News.
However, it is now known that by late 2007 and internal dossier listing multiple instances of phone-hacking already existed within News International.
In her appearance before the House of Commons Select Committee last month, Rebekah Brooks also told MPs that Kuttner had been responsible for issuing payments to investigators working for the newspaper.
"The payments of private detectives would have gone through the managing editor's office," she told the Committee.
The arrest of Kuttner, who has recently suffered health problems, increases the likelihood that police will also want to talk to former Dow Jones chief executive Les Hinton, who was News International chief executive during the period that the bulk of the phone-hacking is thought to have taken place.
News International is also under pressure to explain whether the deletion of hundreds of thousands of emails in April 2010 was relevant to the hacking investigation. The process, which was described as "routine" by the technology company managing News International's data, is expected to come under further scrutiny from police and the Parliamentary committee investigating the phone-hacking scandal.
News International has said it is "fully co-operating" with the relevant inquiries.