Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Publicist Arrested in U.K. Inquiry on Sex Abuse

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Publicist Arrested in U.K. Inquiry on Sex Abuse

Article excerpt

Max Clifford, who is a household name in Britain for advising pop stars, politicians and Hollywood A-listers, is suspected of offenses unrelated to the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Max Clifford, a multimillionaire publicist who is a household name in Britain for advising pop stars, politicians, Hollywood A- listers and others seeking to attract or avoid headlines in the sensationalist tabloids, was arrested at his home south of London at daybreak Thursday by police officers investigating sexual offenses.

Mr. Clifford, 69, was the fifth person to be arrested by a group of 30 Scotland Yard officers working for Operation Yewtree, an investigation set up in the wake of allegations of widespread sexual abuses by Jimmy Savile, a nationally renowned BBC television host for more than 40 years until his death last year.

But a police statement said the man they had arrested, later identified by his lawyer as Mr. Clifford, had not been questioned in connection with Mr. Savile's activities, which have prompted one of the most serious crises in the BBC's 90-year history. In recent weeks, the crisis has led to the resignation of the public broadcaster's director general and a BBC inquiry, due to report by mid-December, that has focused on current and former BBC executives.

The Scotland Yard statement said the man arrested "on suspicion of sexual offenses" -- Mr. Clifford -- "falls under the strand of the investigation we have called 'others,"' meaning individuals who have been the subject of complaints unrelated to Mr. Savile, some dating back decades, that have been made since the Savile scandal broke in September.

A lawyer for Mr. Clifford, Charlotte Harris, confirmed in a statement that the publicist had been arrested, and said: "Mr. Clifford will assist the police as best he can with their inquiries. When we are in a position to provide further information, we will."

Others arrested for questioning by Operation Yewtree detectives, and subsequently released on bail, include Gary Glitter, a rock performer and convicted pedophile; Freddie Starr, a comedian; Dave Lee Travis, a former BBC disc jockey; and Wilfred De'Ath, a former BBC producer. Lawyers have said that questioning has focused on allegations of offenses committed as far back as the 1970s and 1980s. …

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