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Eight held over British payments inquiry

FIVE Sun employees are among eight arrested over alleged corrupt payments to police and public officials, BBC reports

A Surrey Police officer, member of the armed forces and Ministry of Defence employee were also arrested.

Picture editor John Edwards, chief reporter John Kay, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, reporter John Sturgis and associate editor Geoff Webster were held, the BBC understands.

The arrests are part of the Operation Elveden probe into payments to police.

News Corporation confirmed that five employees of the Sun were arrested.

Five men aged between 45 and 68 were arrested in London, Kent and Essex on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy in relation to both offences.

A 39-year-old Surrey Police officer, a 39-year-old Ministry of Defence 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.

Those arrested are being questioned at police stations in London, Kent, Essex and Wiltshire, police said.

News Corp said its Management and Standards Committee (MSC) had provided information to the Elveden inquiry which led to the arrests.

The company said in a statement: “News Corporation remains committed to ensuring that unacceptable news-gathering practices by individuals in the past will not be repeated and last summer authorised the MSC to co-operate with the relevant authorities.

“The MSC will continue to ensure that all appropriate steps are taken to protect legitimate journalistic privilege and sources, private or personal information and legal privilege.

“News Corporation maintains its total support to the ongoing work of the MSC and is committed to making certain that legitimate journalism is vigorously pursued in both the public interest and in full compliance with the law.”

‘Robust’ response

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on ongoing investigations.”

A Surrey Police spokesman said on learning about the involvement of one of its officers it had immediately referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby said: “The Force takes matters of this nature extremely seriously and we will not hesitate to respond robustly to allegations where there is evidence to support them.”

News Corporation is the parent company of News International which owns The Sun and The Times.

Operation Elveden is running alongside the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Weeting inquiry into phone hacking at the now-closed News of the World.

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