Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, was released on bail early on Monday morning after half a day in police custody while being questioned over phone hacking and corruption allegations.
Brooks was arrested on Sunday at around noon BST (9pm AEST) on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption allegations. The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Brooks had been bailed around midnight to return in late October.
Her arrest came on yet another dramatic day in the phone-hacking scandal. Later in the afternoon, the Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson resigned in the face of mounting pressure over his association with the former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis.
The timing of Brooks' arrest caught observers by surprise. Police said that she was arrested by appointment at a London police station by detectives working on Operation Weeting, the investigation into phone hacking, and Operation Elveden, the investigation into illicit payments to police officers.
But her public relations representative told news outlets that Brooks had not been aware at the time the interview was arranged that it would involve her being arrested. In a statement, the agent also said that police had not informed Brooks of their desire to interview her until after her resignation from News International on Friday.
"Rebekah has been offering to help police with their enquiries since January. The police explicitly said they did not need to speak to her. As late as last week the police still maintained they did not need to speak to her," the representative said, according to Sky News.
"However, following her resignation and the announcement that she would attend the select committee meeting on Tuesday the police changed their course of action and told Rebekah they did want to speak to her."
Mark Lewis, the lawyer for several victims of alleged phone hacking, said that the timing of the arrest "stinks".
The arrest has put her scheduled appearance before the culture, media and sport select committee in doubt. She was due to give evidence on Tuesday afternoon, along with Rupert and James Murdoch. After news of her arrest emerged, the committee chairman John Whittingdale said he was not sure whether she would be able to appear.
Brooks was the editor of the News of the World between 2000 and 2003, but maintains that it was "inconceivable" that she knew about allegations of widespread phone hacking at the now-defunct tabloid. Before her resignation on Friday, she had served as the chief executive of the Murdoch-owned News International since 2009.
She is the tenth individual to be arrested as part of the work of Weeting and Elveden.
Have your say: join the forum discussion or submit a comment below.