Operation Elveden: Healthcare worker in Merseyside bailed

Scotland Yard sign
Image caption The man is being questioned at a police station in Merseyside

Police investigating inappropriate payments to police and public officials have released a former healthcare worker in Merseyside on bail.

The 59-year-old man was arrested on Thursday at his home in the Knowsley area of Merseyside.

He was held on suspicion of offences including misconduct in a public office contrary to common law.

The police investigation, Operation Elveden, is running alongside Operation Weeting, the phone-hacking inquiry.

The man was questioned on suspicion of corruption, contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, and conspiracy in relation to both the other alleged offences.

His house was searched and he was later bailed to return to a Merseyside police station on a date in May.

Seven charged

The Metropolitan Police said the arrest was the result of information provided to police by News Corporation's management and standards committee, which was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper.

The Met said in a statement: "It relates to suspected payments to a public official and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately."

The arrest is not connected to Ashworth Hospital, which houses inmates including Moors murderer Ian Brady.

A statement from Mersey Care NHS Trust said: "The trust takes patient confidentiality extremely seriously and welcomes any investigation which supports this."

Some 57 people have been arrested under Operation Elveden, eight of whom are serving or retired police officers.

Seven people have been charged by the CPS, including former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, Sun chief reporter John Kay and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan-Barber.

The trio, along with David Cameron's former spokesman Andy Coulson and the former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman, are due to appear at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing on 8 March.

Earlier this month Det Ch Insp April Casburn, 53, of the Met Police was the first person to be convicted as a result of Operation Elveden. She was convicted of trying to sell information on the phone-hacking probe to the News of the World.

She will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 1 February.

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