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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Hollywood reporter the thirteenth arrest in phone hacking scandal: report

The arrest of James Desborough is seen as a significant development in the scandal that has rocked the UK establishment.

The final edition of the News of the World, published in July.
The final edition of the News of the World, published in July.
Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

AN AWARD-WINNING Hollywood reporter at the former News of the World newspaper is reported to have become the latest person to be arrested by police investigating phone hacking in the UK.

The Guardian reports that James Desborough, 38, has been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. He attended a police station in south London this morning where he was arrested and is now being questioned about criminal activities at the newspaper.

The allegations leading to his arrest are believed to relate to events prior to Desborough becoming the newspapers’ Los Angeles-based US editor in 2009. The paper notes the arrest, the 13th as part of Operation Weeting, is significant because of his having worked in the US.

If Desborough was involved in hacking whilst working in Britain, as police suspect, there will be questions as to whether he also practised these techniques whilst in the US, the paper notes.

The hacking scandal centres on allegations that journalists working for the News International-owned News of the World took part in the widespread hacking of phone voicemails whilst working for the now defunct newspaper.

The News of the World was shut down in July following revelations that it hacked into the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Allegations that journalists working for the newspaper also hacked into the voicemails of victims of the 7/7 and 9/11 terrorist attacks as well as a host of other public figures have also emerged.

It has led to two high-profile resignations of senior police officers at the Metropolitan Police and by News International CEO Rebekah Brooks who used to edit the NoTW.

The scandal has also put pressure on UK prime minister David Cameron whose former communications chief Andy Coulsen used to edit the paper.

The scandal took another twist this week when new documents cast doubt on evidence given by News Corporation – of which News International is a subsidiary – CEO James Murdoch to MPs in a recent highly publicised appearance alongside his father and News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch.

Read: New files ‘cast doubt’ on James Murdoch’s hacking evidence >

Read more on the hacking scandal >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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