Source: Police payoffs under investigation

Feb. 16, 2012 at 1:18 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Investigators are trying to determine if British police officers and other public officials received large payoffs from The Sun tabloid, The Guardian reported.

Citing a source it said was "familiar with the operations of" the Management and Standards Committee, a News International unit set up by Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch to work with police, The Guardian reported police believe they have evidence some individuals received as much as 10,000 pounds ($16,000) a year and were "effectively on retainer" to the Sun. Detectives believe they have evidence of "serious suspected criminality over a sustained period," the report said.

Murdoch closed the News of the World last year in an attempt to dampen public outrage over reports that a private detective paid by the newspaper hacked into a missing schoolgirl's cellphone in 2002. The scandal has spread to other papers including The Sun, the largest circulation daily in Britain, also owned by Murdoch.

Employees at The Sun have approached the National Union of Journalists over a possible legal battle against the MSC, the Guardian said. Nine current and former Sun employees have been arrested in the past three weeks, including five last Saturday, and some at the newspaper have accused their employer of throwing them "to the wolves."

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