UK police search newsroom of second tabloid

A protester shows off fake money at a demonstration against the News of the World newspaper, outside News International's headquarters in London, July 8, 2011. AP

LONDON - Police say they are searching the newsroom of a second British tabloid as part of a widening investigation into a tabloid phone hacking scandal.

Scotland Yard said Friday that a business in central London was being searched. They did not name the premise, but offered the information when asked about the Daily Star Sunday.

The search is believed to be connected to the arrest of Clive Goodman, the former News of the World royal editor who served a jail term in 2007 for hacking into the phones of royal aides.

Goodman was re-arrested Friday on suspicion of making illegal payoffs to police for information.

In the biggest arrest to date involving the scandal, Prime Minister David Cameron's former communications chief was also taken into police custody Friday.

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London police said a 43-year-old man was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of corruption and "conspiring to intercept communications." They did not name him but offered the information when asked about Andy Coulson, Cameron's once-powerful aide and a former editor of News of the World.

Cameron quickly distanced himself from a crisis knocking at the door of 10 Downing St., acknowledging that British politicians and the press had become too cozy and promising investigations into both the activities at the tabloid and into future media regulation.

"The truth is, we've all been in this together," Cameron told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference Friday morning. "Party leaders were so keen to win the support of newspapers that we turned a blind eye to the need to sort this issue. The people in power knew things weren't right but they didn't do enough quickly enough."

Coulson quit as editor of News of the World after Goodman and a private investigator were jailed in 2007 for hacking into the phones of royal aides. He was hired in 2010 as Cameron's director of communications. Coulson resigned from his Downing Street job in January as it became clear that hacking had been far more widespread at the paper.

Murdoch's media empire on Thursday shut down the 168-year-old muckraking tabloid, which has been engulfed by allegations its journalists paid police for information and hacked into the phone messages of celebrities, young murder victims and even the grieving families of dead soldiers. The revelations horrified both ordinary Britons and advertisers, who pulled their ads en masse.

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According to the Guardian, authorities were also investigating whether a News International executive deleted millions of emails in an attempt to obstruct the hacking probe.

Sources close to the investigation told the paper that a senior executive in Rupert Murdoch's company is believed to have deleted "massive quantities" from an internal archive believed to date back to January 2005 and contain messages between News of the World staff and outsiders, including private investigators.

If so, that would contradict the company's claim to be aiding the investigation.

The Guardian also reported that News International also leaked sensitive information to the consternation of police and tried to hide the contents of a reporter's desk after his arrest in April.

The phone hacking scandal has not only sunk a venerable newspaper, but exposed an uncomfortably close relationship among British politicians, press and police.

Cameron acknowledged Friday that the relationship with the media had become too cozy and promised to hold investigations into activities at the News of the World tabloid and into future media regulation

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