A ninth person has been arrested over the News of the World scandal as Australia begins investigating ethical behavior at its own Murdoch papers.
Former deputy editor of News of the World, Neil Wallis, 60, was taken into custody after an early-morning raid on his house in west London, on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, The Sydney Morning Herald reports in its Friday edition.
The arrest of Wallis has placed renewed pressure on Scotland Yard after it emerged that he had been employed as an adviser to the Yard's top officers last year, the Guardian reports.
Neil Wallis, deputy editor of the paper under Andy Coulson when it was alleged to have been engaged in mass acts of phone hacking, was paid by the Metropolitan police and advised Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met commissioner, and assistant commissioner John Yates during a period when the Yard rejected calls for the reopening of a criminal investigation into the interception of voicemails.
Hours after Wallis was arrested as part of Operation Weeting, the Met said it had employed him as a part-time adviser on "strategic communications".
Senior Met sources said they "believed" Wallis had not worked on anything to do with phone hacking while temporarily filling in for the force's deputy director of public affairs.
The arrest comes as the patriarch of News Corporation, 80-year-old Rupert Murdoch, and his son James, have been compelled by Britain's parliament to attend on Tuesday and answer questions about the scandal that has shocked and disgusted the U.K. U.S. and Australia, SMH reports
Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman and chief executive, says his company has handled the crisis "extremely well in every way possible", making just "minor mistakes".
In an interview with the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal, Murdoch also said he would set up an independent committee to "investigate every charge of improper conduct" made against News Corp.
James Murdoch already faces an ugly battle with shareholders over his position on the News Corp board, London's The Telegraph reports, but that battle could soon turn even more personal if they launch a new “shareholder derivatives” lawsuit against him and his father, Rupert, as legal experts predict.
Murdoch also strongly denied reports he may be considering a sale of some of his newspapers. "Pure rubbish," he said. "Pure and total rubbish... give it the strongest possible denial you can give," AFP reports.
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she is "shocked and disgusted" by the revelations that have also sparked debate in Australia about media ethics.
"Don't write crap. It can't be that hard." she said.
She is considering requests for an inquiry into media regulation.
News Corp's Australian division, News Ltd, is reviewing editorial spending for the past three years to ensure the money was spent legitimately.
On Thursday night, News Ltd agreed with the Australian Press Council that its chairman Julian Disney would nominate an "independent assessor" to check the methods, scope and the company's reaction to the outcome of the investigation, SMH reports.
In the United States, the FBI says it is looking into claims that News Corp employees may have targeted the phone records of September 11 victims.