Phone hacking: Woman held by Operation Weeting police

Mobile phone
Image caption The woman is being held on suspicion of money laundering offences

A 42-year-old woman has been arrested by officers investigating the illegal interception of mobile phone messages, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The woman, who has not been named, attended a south-west London police station by appointment on Monday.

She was questioned on suspicion of money laundering offences, and later bailed until July, Scotland Yard said.

The arrest was made as part of Operation Weeting, the investigation into alleged phone hacking.

That was launched in January 2011, after "significant new information" was disclosed to police by News International, which owned the now-defunct Sunday tabloid, the News of the World (NoW).

Allegations that the paper had been illicitly hacking people's voicemail messages first came to light in 2006, when NoW royal editor, Clive Goodman, and private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, were found to have been intercepting the phones of royal aides.

Inquiries launched

The pair pleaded guilty and were jailed in 2007. The paper said they had "acted alone".

But during the years that followed, fresh evidence of widespread hacking emerged and the number of alleged victims suing the paper grew.

So far, officers working on Operation Weeting have made more than 20 arrests.

Of those, detectives have charged six people, including former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Operation Elveden was launched months after Operation Weeting after officers were given documents suggesting News International journalists made illegal payments to police officers.

Officers launched three related operations as the inquiry escalated - the Sasha inquiry into allegations of perverting the course of justice; Kilo into police leaks; and Tuleta into computer-related offences.

The latest arrest comes after a 37-year-old journalist was held on Friday as part of the Operation Elveden inquiry.

She was later released on bail pending further inquiries. A total of 30 people have been arrested since last July as part of Elveden.

The scandal has already led to the closure of the News of the World after 168 years, prompted a major public inquiry and forced the resignation of Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and his assistant John Yates.