News Corp.'s former top British lawyer, who clashed with James Murdoch over what he knew about phone-hacking at the News of the World tabloid, was arrested Thursday in the probe, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Tom Crone was detained at his home and is being interviewed by the Metropolitan Police Service, said the person, who asked not be identified. The Met didn't identify Crone in a statement Thursday about the arrest of a 60-year-old man in the investigation.
Crone emerged as a key figure in the scandal last year when he and Colin Myler, a former editor at the newspaper, contradicted testimony by Murdoch, News Corp.'s deputy chief operating officer, to Parliament. The testimony was about when Murdoch found out that phone hacking at the News of the World went beyond one reporter jailed for the practice in 2007.
Crone also clashed with News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch after the men were called to testify at a parliamentary committee and a separate judge-led inquiry into media ethics.
Crone said in April that the elder Murdoch told a "shameful lie" to the inquiry when he said the lawyer was involved in a cover-up of phone hacking.
The investigation into the widespread interception of mobile-phone voice mail by journalists is running parallel to probes into computer hacking at News Corp.'s Times newspaper and bribery of public officials by its Sun tabloid, the country's best-selling daily title. Police in London and Glasgow, Scotland, arrested two ex-News Corp. employees Wednesday in the related investigations.
The Guardian newspaper reported Crone's identity earlier.
Crone's lawyer, Henri Brandman, didn't immediately return a call for comment. A receptionist said Brandman was at a police interview and didn't name the lawyer's client.
Crone was the News of the World's attorney until it was closed in July 2011 in response to the scandal.
More than 60 arrests have resulted from the three probes that police began after new evidence was uncovered in civil lawsuits by victims.
Investigations in 2006 and 2009 failed to reveal the extent of the illegal practice.
Daisy Dunlop, a spokeswoman for News Corp.'s British unit, News International, declined to comment on Thursday's arrest.
Crone, Myler and former News International chairman Les Hinton gave misleading testimony to the parliamentary committee probing phone hacking in 2009, a panel of lawmakers said in a report in May. The committee is considering whether the trio should be punished for contempt.