British phone hacking scandal hits second tabloid, crosses borders

The phone hacking inquiry broadened Friday with a police raid on the Daily Star Sunday and allegations that News of the World broke into a Scottish politician's voicemail.

Oli Scarff/AP/File
In this April 2010 photo, Andy Coulson, formerly editor of the tabloid News of the World, and later David Cameron's director of communications, speaks on a mobile phone in London. London police on Friday arrested Coulson, in relation to Britain's tabloid phone-hacking scandal.

In another twist in the British phone hacking scandal, police raided the offices of Britain's Daily Star Sunday and are looking into allegations that News of the World broke into a Scottish politician's voicemail.

Friday's raid on the Daily Star Sunday, which unlike NotW is not owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, followed the arrest of two former NotW employees this morning. One of them, Andy Coulson, is a former aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr. Coulson, the paper's editor when the hacking took place, turned himself in to police, but former colleague and royal correspondent Clive Goodman was arrested in a dawn raid. Mr. Goodman previously served four months in prison for intercepting royal phone calls. Both Goodman and Coulson have been released on bail.

The Daily Star Sunday said the raid on their offices stemmed from an investigation of Goodman, who worked for the newspaper as a freelancer after leaving NotW.

"There was no suggestion whatsoever that Mr. Goodman had acted improperly during his occasional shifts at the Daily Star Sunday, and we can confirm that no payments of any kind were ever made by the newspaper to Clive Goodman contacts,” it said.

The investigation's expansion into other companies does not mean the troubles are over for the soon-to-be defunct NotW or its owner, News International, a UK subsidiary of Mr. Murdoch's News Corporation. Allegations of their own phone hacking have spread beyond England and police in Glasgow have been ordered by Scottish prosecutors to investigate.

The allegations in Scotland are centered on Tommy Sheridan, a former Scottish Socialist Party politician who was convicted of perjury in 2010 partially based on evidence that was presented in court by NotW. Mr. Sherridan sued the publication in 2006 after it published claims that he had engaged in extra-marital affairs. He was awarded £200,000 ($321,000) in damages, but an investigation into whether Sheridan and his wife misled the court began the same year.

On Wednesday, Labour Party MP Tom Watson expressed doubts in the Westminster parliament about the soundness of Sheridan's perjury conviction.

There are no signs of the scandal spreading outside the UK. Ireland’s press ombudsman, John Horgan, said he is not aware of any allegations against Irish editions of British tabloids.

In 1998, the Irish Daily Mirror, a local edition of a British-owned newspaper, reported that Irish politicians’ voicemail messages could be listened to simply by dialing their number and pressing 0000. But there

But Mr. Horgan says, “I have no complaints about those kinds of activities in Ireland since I took up the job in 2008.”

A statement from Ireland's Press Council, on which Horgan sits, said any such allegations "will be processed in the normal way."

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