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Andy Coulson, the former editor of The News of The World, has been told that he will be arrested tomorrow in relation to illegal phone-hacking activities at the newspaper, according to media reports emerging late Thursday.
Coulson could also face questions relating to his evidence in a separate trial last year in which it now appears he may have perjured himself after saying that he had no knowledge of the company paying policemen.
The arrest, if it goes ahead, would represent the first senior News International executive to face the prospect of criminal consequences to the phone-hacking actions that have engulfed the British media.
Police have identified as many as four thousand people whose phones could have been illegally tampered with.
The development could trigger an escalation in the serious ramifications for other senior executives including chief executive Rebekah Brooks and potentially News Corp deputy COO James Murdoch if Coulson decides to name other executives involed in the scandal.
To date both Brooks and Murdoch have repeatedly insisted that they knew nothing of the “wrongdoing” that has emerged.
The news comes as staff now face the prospect of being unemployed after the final issue is published on Sunday. Brooks, who remains chief executive of the news group that includes The Times, The Sun and The Sunday Times, is also facing the growing anger of staff.
“Why can’t she be sacked? She has trashed the reputation of the newspaper, she has closed the paper – it doesn’t get worse than that – and yet she still has her job,” said one News of The World employee.
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