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News Corp. faced more pressure Thursday with the arrest of former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis _ the ninth person involved with the News of the World to be detained by police probing phone hacking.

Police said Wallis, 60, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

He was News of the World deputy editor between 2003 and 2007 under Andy Coulson, who resigned from the paper when a reporter and a private detective were jailed in January 2007 for hacking into the phones of royal aides.

Wallis was executive editor until 2009; Coulson was Cameron’s communications director from 2007 until January, when he quit as the hacking scandal resurfaced. He was arrested on July 8.

In another sign of what Cameron has called the overly cozy relationship between politicians, the media and the police, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that Wallis had been employed as a part-time consultant to the force.

Wallis’ firm was employed to provide “strategic communication advice” for two days a month while its own staffer was on medical leave, the Metropolitan Police said. The contract ended in September.

Media analyst Claire Enders said News Corp. might be tempted to sell its other British newspapers _ The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times.

That is an outcome favored by some analysts and shareholders, who see the papers as financially inconsequential and reputationally burdensome _ as well as by many British politicians.

“The politicians want the Murdochs’ role in public life to be greatly diminished,” Enders said. “They would like them to move to New York and stay there.

“Since the papers have no political value any more, then their economic value must be questioned as well.”


AP writers Tom Hays in New York, Pete Yost and Larry Margasak in Washington, Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles, and Cassandra Vinograd and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.