U.K. Police Arrest Celebrity Publicist Max Clifford in Sexual Abuse Probe

The PR man, whose clients have included Simon Cowell, was questioned as part of an investigation following allegations against late TV host Jimmy Savile.

U.K. police on Thursday arrested well-known publicist Max Clifford as part of a broader investigation into sexual abuse claims against late former BBC host Jimmy Savile and others.

The PR guru's Max Clifford Associates has represented such celebrities as Simon Cowell.

The Metropolitan London Police, better known as Scotland Yard, said on its web site Thursday that officers have arrested "a man in his sixties." The Guardian later identified him as the 69-year-old Clifford.
 He was taken to a central London police station for questioning. The paper said the police questions focused on abuse allegations that are not tied to Savile.

A lawyer for Clifford told the Guardian: "He will assist police as best he can with their inquiries. When we are in a position to provide further information, we will."

Clifford became the fifth person to be arrested as part of the probes that were launched in the wake of allegations that Savile had abused under-age girls, including on BBC premises.

 The other people arrested so far are singer Gary Glitter, comedian Freddie Starr, radio DJ Dave Lee Travis and a former BBC producer.

When the Savile allegations first surfaced this fall, Clifford said dozens of stars from the 1960s and 1970s had contacted him. He said they were afraid to be implicated as well.

Meanwhile, it emerged Thursday that a BBC probe into a dropped report about the Savile allegations on flagship news show Newsnight would publish its report during the week before Christmas. The probe has been led by former Sky News head Nick Pollard and focused on the BBC's handling of the canceled report.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai