Scotland Yard Chief Paul Stephenson quit his prominent post Sunday as a result of the widening U.K. phone hacking and police bribery scandal.
In addition, Assistant Commissioner John Yates also resigned. The Associated Press explained that Yates – a few years ago –decided not to reopen investigations into phone hacking and police bribery by journalists.
He claimed there was no new evidence in the case, The AP said.
But the reopened investigation now leads authorities to conclude they have some 3,700 potential victims, The AP said.
News of the World hacked into the mobile phones of celebrities, crime victims, politicians and the relatives of Britain’s war dead, TechZone360 said.
Stephenson was the highest ranking officer in the Metropolitan Police Service.
A former News of the World editor, Neil Wallis, was arrested in connection with the News International phone hacking scandal – and his arrest was a factor in Stephenson stepping down.
“I had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the original investigation into phone hacking in 2006 that successfully led to the conviction and imprisonment of two men. I had no reason to believe this was anything other than a successful investigation. I was unaware that there were any other documents in our possession of the nature that have now emerged,” Stephenson said in a statement made to the public.
“I have heard suggestions that we must have suspected the alleged involvement of Mr. Wallis in phone hacking. Let me say unequivocally that I did not and had no reason to have done so. I do not occupy a position in the world of journalism; I had no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice and the repugnant nature of the selection of victims that is now emerging; nor of its apparent reach into senior levels,” Stephenson adds.
“I saw senior figures from News International providing evidence that the misbehaviour was confined to a rogue few and not known about at the top,” he continued. “One can only wonder about the motives of those within the newspaper industry or beyond, who now claim that they did know but kept quiet.”
In a related matter, Rebekah Brooks, a top U.K. executive at News Corp, was detained by Scotland Yard for several hours on Sunday after she resigned from her corporate post.
Brooks was the 10th person detained by police in the phone hacking investigation, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
The scandal has led to the closing of the News of the World. The scandal also raises questions over the future of News Corp and its powerful CEO Rupert Murdoch.
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