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UK police arrest woman in hacking scandal; UK media say its ex-Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks

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LONDON - British police investigating phone hacking and police bribery by the defunct tabloid News of the World arrested a 43-year-old woman Sunday who British media identified as Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch's former British CEO.

Police said the woman was arrested at a London police station at noon Sunday by appointment. She is being questioned on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications — phone hacking — and on suspicion of corruption — bribing police for information.

London police do not identify suspects until they are charged. Sky News and the BBC said the suspect was Brooks, the former News of the World editor who stepped down Friday as head of Murdoch's British newspapers.

Police have already arrested nine other people connected to Murdoch's British media empire over allegations that the News of the World hacked into the phone voice mails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims. No one has yet been charged.

The latest arrested comes just two days before Brooks is due to answer questions from a parliamentary committee investigating the hacking. Rupert Murdoch and his son James are also due to give evidence.

Brooks was the newspaper's editor between 2000 and 2003, when some of the hacking took place, but has always said she did not know hacking was going on, a claim greeted with skepticism by many who worked there.

At an appearance before lawmakers in 2003, she admitted that News International had paid police for information. That admission of possible illegal activity went largely unchallenged and, at the time, little noticed.

The arrest also piles more pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron, a friend and neighbour of Brooks who has met with her many times and invited her to stay at his official country retreat.

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