Laying the potential foundation for a challenge to News Corp's broadcast licenses in the U.S., two former London police officers, an ex-prison official and another public official pleaded guilty today (Friday) to charges that they had accepted bribes from London Sun journalists for information about celebrity cases. The four had been arrested as part of Operation Elveden, a separate inquiry that emerged from the Operation Weeting phone-hacking probe and the Operation Tuleta computer-hacking probe that have roiled News International, the News Corp unit that overseas its London newspapers. Some 107 persons, most of them News International journalists, have been arrested in connection with the investigations over the past two years. The four who pleaded guilty today mark the first convictions. The Elveden inquiry is particularly relevant in the U.S. inasmuch as it calls to mind the FCC's decision to yank RKO-General's broadcast licenses in New York, Los Angeles and Boston in the 1980s after the company's General Tire division was convicted of bribing foreign officials to win contracts.
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