News International’s former legal affairs manager is arrested by detectives investigating phone hacking at the News of the World.
The 60-year-old barrister was arrested at his home in south west London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and is being questioned at a south London police station.
Mr Crone is the 25th person to be detained under Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into allegations of phone hacking.
He joined Rupert Murdoch’s News International media group in 1985 and acted as a legal advisor to the Sun and the News of the World until resigning last year.
Mr Crone’s exit followed the closure of the News of the World amid allegations that the newspaper had hacked into murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone voicemail.
The lawyer supervised a 2007 internal investigation into phone hacking at the paper following the conviction of royal editor Clive Goodman for illegally intercepting phone messages from Clarence House.
Mr Crone said the investigation did not find any evidence that other staff were involved in hacking.
He has since clashed with Rupert and James Murdoch, denying suggestions that he knew of more widespread phone hacking and had tried to prevent senior executives from finding out about it.
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was arrested as part of Operation Weeting last year and is due to appear in Westminster magistrates’ court next week to answer one general charge of conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority and two other charges relating to Milly Dowler and former union boss Andrew Gilchrist.
Seven other people including David Cameron’s former head of communications Andy Coulson appeared at the same court earlier this month to face phone hacking charges.
The group included six members of staff from the News of the World, who all face the general charge alongside Brooks, as well as specific counts linked to individual people.
Former NOTW editor Coulson is accused, along with ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck and former reporter James Weatherup.
Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire has also been charged under Operation Weeting.
Two separate Met investigations – Operation Elveden, which is investigating claims of corrupt payments to public officials, and Operation Tuleta, which is looking into claims of computer hacking and privacy breaches – have made 43 and 11 arrests so far.