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2d group faces inquiry in British hacking scandal

LONDON — Britain’s phone-hacking scandal lurched toward another leading newspaper group Thursday when Trinity Mirror said police were at the early stage of an inquiry into whether it was criminally liable for conduct of previous workers of the Sunday Mirror tabloid.

“The group does not accept wrongdoing within its business and takes these allegations seriously,” Trinity Mirror, which also publishes the left-leaning Daily Mirror tabloid and Sunday People, said in a statement.

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The hacking scandal has largely embroiled British newspapers in Rupert Murdoch’s empire. In July 2011, Murdoch closed News of the World, a tabloid, after disclosures that its staff had hacked into the cellphone messages of a teenager, Milly Dowler, who had been abducted and was later found murdered.

Two former editors and several ex-employees of Murdoch’s British newspaper subsidiary have been arraigned on charges and trials are expected to start later in the year.

In March, the police said four Mirror group journalists had been arrested in South London on suspicion of “conspiracy to intercept telephone communications.” The journalists were not identified. News reports at the time said the four were all senior serving or former editors.

In previous hearings before investigators, some witnesses testified phone hacking was rife at The Mirror. One of the witnesses was Piers Morgan, the CNN talk-show host who was editor of The Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004. He told the investigation he knew of no one who hacked phones.

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