Murdoch inquiry: staff may have used data from stolen cell phones

us_twitter_murdoch_120701_0.jpg

"Watch Katie Holmes and Scientology story develop. Something creepy, maybe even evil, about these people," Rupert Murdoch tweeted.

Credit:

Peter Macdiarmid

New details have emerged in the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed tabloid king Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

The three-part investigation that began after revelations of phone hacking at Britain's News of the World is now looking at evidence that suggests newspaper staff obtained information from stolen cell phones, according to a senior police officer working on the case.

Sue Akers, the deputy assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard, told a judicial inquiry that investigators are trying to determine whether the two cases they have documented are isolated incidents or represent "the tip of the iceberg," the New York Times reported.

There are three investigations underway since the 2009 allegations of phone hacking surfaced. One is looking at 101 allegations of hacking and breach of privacy — including access to medical, banking and other personal records — and has so far led to seven arrests. This is the inquiry under which the stolen cell phones are being investigated.

Another inquiry looking at bribes paid to public officials has led to the arrest of 41 people, just over half of them journalists, while the original investigation into phone hacking led to 15 arrests, according to The New York Times.

The News of the World folded last summer. To date, 2,615 people have been notified by investigators that their voicemail may have been hacked, according to Akers.

Today's news of wider allegations comes just days after a News International spokeswoman confirmed that Rupert Murdoch resigned from a string of boards within News Corporation.