London Police Chief Quits Over Phone Hacking Scandal

Posted July 17th, 2011 at 3:30 pm (UTC-5)
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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. However, he said he did not want criticism of his conduct to detract from the police department being able to do its job.

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

News of the World was closed last week following allegations that journalists there illegally accessed the cellphone voicemails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims, and also that they bribed 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 Wallis' links to the 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 the 10th person arrested in connection with the scandal.

Also Sunday, Murdoch published his second apology in British newspapers. In the ads, the 80-year-old Murdoch apologized for the “serious wrongdoing” and said he is “deeply sorry for the hurt” caused by his journalists.

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 Federal Bureau of Investigation 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, 2001 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.