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Sun staff questioned over payments

Four journalists and a police officer are being questioned over alleged illegal payments after Scotland Yard swooped on the offices of Britain's biggest newspaper.

Senior Sun staff Chris Pharo, 42, and Mike Sullivan, 48, along with former executives Fergus Shanahan, 56, and Graham Dudman, 48, were named by sources as suspects facing corruption allegations.

They were arrested separately, along with an unnamed serving officer, in the busiest day of activity yet for detectives investigating police payments. Officers also searched News International's headquarters in Wapping in a bid to gain new evidence surrounding the Sun's newsgathering activities.

Mr Pharo is one of the best-selling tabloid's most senior news executives while Mr Sullivan is a long-serving and respected crime editor with the paper. Mr Dudman is a former managing editor while Mr Shanahan also held an executive role.

Operation Elveden - which runs alongside the Met's Operation Weeting team - was launched as the phone hacking scandal erupted last July with allegations about the now-axed News of the World targeting Milly Dowler's mobile phone.

The officer, who serves with the MPS Territorial Policing command, was being questioned at a south London police station on suspicion of corruption, misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to the offences.

The journalists were being questioned at police stations in London and Essex on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to the offences.

News Corporation, the parent company of News International which owns The Sun and The Times, said: "News Corporation made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated.

"It commissioned the Management and Standards Committee (MSC) to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively co-operate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles.

"As a result of that review, which is ongoing, the MSC provided information to the Elveden investigation which led to today's arrests."


From Belfast Telegraph