The arrested journalists, all from The Sun, were later released, and have yet to be charged with any crimes. (As The Wall Street Journal explained last summer, arrests in the U.K. are often made early  in a criminal investigation, and may not be followed by any charges.)
But the arrests have once again raised questions about whether Murdoch's News Corp. might face prosecution for bribery in the U.S. under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act .
Reuters reported last week that U.S. authorities are "stepping up investigations " of the possible bribery by Murdoch employees. An FBI spokeswoman told ProPublica, "We're aware of the allegations, and we're looking into it."
As we noted during the unfolding of the phone hacking scandal last summer, the U.S. has stepped up prosecutions  of companies for bribery of foreign officials in recent years, and the fines for these violations can be steep . Companies can face prosecution by the Justice Department if they record bribery payments, or be pursued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fake record-keeping if they falsify documents to conceal the bribes.
The statute of limitations on civil Foreign Corrupt Practices Act charges is five years. The New York Times reported Saturday that it was not clear when  the allegations that led to the Sun arrests had taken place, "though some of those arrested have told friends that they were questioned on events from almost a decade ago."
Those arrested at The Sun  included the paper's chief reporter, chief foreign correspondent and deputy editor. Last month, four other current and former  Sun journalists were arrested, including the paper's crime editor and former managing editor. A police officer, a member of the armed services and an employee of the Ministry of Defense were also arrested this weekend "on suspicion of corruption ," broadening the scope of the investigation from its original focus, bribery of police officers by journalists, to bribery of other officials as well.