LONDON (Reuters) - Stuart Kuttner, managing editor of the News of the World for 22 years, was arrested and later freed on bail on Tuesday over a phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct tabloid that has rattled Britain’s establishment, a source close to the case said.
Police said a 71-year-old man had been released on bail to an unspecified date later this month after being arrested on suspicion of corruption and conspiring to intercept communications. The source said the man was Kuttner.
News International, the British newspaper arm of News Corp, declined to comment.
A flood of revelations in the last month has generated a furore that has shaken Rupert Murdoch’s media empire as well as Britain’s press, police and political leaders.
Kuttner was responsible for authorising payments from the paper, which was part of Murdoch’s News Corp. Lawmakers have been told that his office would have been responsible for any payments to private detectives.
He stepped down unexpectedly in 2009 just before the Guardian newspaper began to publish a series of stories that phone-hacking activity at the News of the World was far more widespread than had so far been investigated.
Tuesday’s arrest was made by detectives conducting an inquiry into whether journalists and private investigators, seeking gossip for stories, illegally intercepted voicemail messages on mobile phones of people ranging from celebrities and politicians to murder victims and the families of dead soldiers.