Police said a 41-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking and perverting the course of justice, with media outlets identifying him as Glenn Mulcaire.
The arrest is the 18th made by officers working on Operation Weeting, the investigation set up in January into the illegal hacking of voicemails at the paper, which was closed down in July.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said last night: “The man was taken into custody at a south London police station and this evening released on bail to a date in late March, pending further investigation.”
Mulcaire’s lawyers declined to comment.
The former footballer turned private detective, and News of the World’s former royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed for six months in 2007 for hacking the voicemails of aides of Britain’s royal family.
Meanwhile, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson took his ex-employer to the High Court yesterday over its refusal to reimburse his legal fees arising from the phone-hacking affair.
Coulson is suing News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers (NGN) over the construction of a clause within the severance agreement entered into when he resigned from the paper in February 2007.
His counsel, James Laddie, told Mr Justice Supperstone that it stated: “To the extent that it is lawfully able to do so, the employer will pay any reasonable professional (including, without limitation, legal and accounting) costs and expenses properly incurred by the employee after the termination date which arise from his having to defend, or appear in, any administrative, regulatory, judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings as a result of his having been editor of the News of the World.”
He asked for a declaration that NGN, “must pay the professional costs and expenses properly incurred” by Coulson “in defending allegations of criminal conduct” during his editorship.
Coulson, who was arrested in July and released on bail, resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications in January, saying that coverage of the scandal was making it too difficult for him to do his job.
Laddie emphasised: “I should make it clear at this stage that the claimant denies any allegations of wrongdoing.”