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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

6 July 2011 Last updated at 22.:54

Former Coulson aide arrested in murder probe

A 55 year old man who worked as an assistant to Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News Of The World, has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a man in Monaco.

The man, named tonight as Geoffrey Hunt, was taken into police custody at Heathrow Airport in the early hours of Wednesday morning. It is believed that he was attempting to flee to the Cayman Islands.

In the latest twist to the phone hacking allegations engulfing News International, an unnamed police source revealed to the Guardian newspaper that Mr Hunt, a former investment banker at Shaft Capital, was believed to have leaked details of the allegations against the News Of The World while working as an assistant to Andy Coulson during his ill-fated stint as prime minister David Cameron's communications director.

Today's arrest is in connection with the disappearance of Ian Swinton, a former colleague of Mr Hunt at Shaft Capital, who went missing from his home in Monte Carlo in April. At that time Swinton was working as a consultant for the retail tycoon Philip Green, and it is alleged that he was still in regular contact with Hunt via email when Coulson resigned in January, which was shortly followed by Hunt's own resignation.

While details of Swinton's disappearance remain shrouded in mystery, police investigators in the principality are believed to have been treating the case as a murder investigation after a tip-off from another former Shaft employee, who has not been named. Police would not comment on the case this evening, other than to confirm that a man is being questioned in connection with an ongoing murder investigation.