News / Europe

London Police Chief Quits Over Phone-Hacking Scandal

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson poses as he leaves New Scotland Yard in London, Sunday, July 17, 2011.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson poses as he leaves New Scotland Yard in London, Sunday, July 17, 2011.

London's police chief has quit over allegations about police handling of a phone-hacking scandal involving journalists at the now-defunct tabloid News of the World.

Paul Stephenson told journalists Sunday that he did not do anything wrong. But he said he did not want criticism of his conduct to detract from the police department being able to do its job.

British police have been accused of accepting bribes from News of the World journalists and not doing enough to investigate phone hacking allegations.

News of the World shut down last week after allegations that reporters illegally accessed the cellphone voice mails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims. They are also suspected of bribing police for information.

Stephenson also has been criticized for hiring a former News of the World executive editor, Neil Wallis, as a part-time media consultant. Wallis was arrested last week in connection with the scandal.

Stephenson said he did not make the decision to hire Wallis and did not know of his alleged links to phone hacking.

Earlier Sunday, British police arrested Rebekah Brooks, a former News of the World editor and a key executive of Rupert Murdoch's global media empire. She was freed on bail several hours later. Brooks was the 10th person arrested in connection with the scandal.

Murdoch published his second public apology in British newspapers Sunday. He  said he is "deeply sorry for the hurt" caused by his journalists' "serious wrongdoing."

The firestorm over the scandal also forced Murdoch to abandon efforts to push through a multi-billion-dollar bid for British Sky Broadcasting, a satellite television company.

In the United States, the FBI has begun a probe into whether employees of Murdoch's media conglomerate News Corporation tried to hack into the phones of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and their families, or tried to bribe police for information.

Murdoch's company has several lucrative news and entertainment outlets in the United States, including the country's top business newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, and a major television outlet, Fox News Channel.

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