UK publicist Max Clifford arrested in BBC sex abuse case

The prominent British publicist's arrest is the latest arising from a wide-ranging inquiry into the BBC sex abuse scandal that may involve as many as 100 victims.

LONDON — British police Thursday arrested prominent publicist Max Clifford in connection to the broad investigation into child sex abuse spurred by the Jimmy Savile case.

Clifford's lawyer, Charlotte Harris, confirmed the arrest and said Clifford would assist the police "as best he can with their inquiries."

Clifford, 69, represents some of Britain's best known entertainment figures.

Police would only say that a man in his 60s was arrested Thursday morning in Surrey, south of London, on suspicion of sexual offenses and he is being questioned at a central London police station.

Clifford did not answer calls to his mobile phones.

Police said the arrest was part of an investigation called Operation Yewtree, a wide-ranging inquiry into alleged sexual offenses committed by Savile and others. Savile was a BBC entertainer who has in recent months been accused of serial sexual abuse of underage girls. He died last year without having been charged with any offenses.

Police have said there may be several hundred abuse victims.

The Savile allegations have caused a major embarrassment for his employer, the BBC, which has been accused of failing to report on investigations into Savile's alleged crimes.

Four others have been arrested in the investigation of the alleged abuse. None has been charged.

British media have identified the suspects as including comedian Freddie Starr and former glam rock star Gary Glitter.

Clifford told the Associated Press in October that he was receiving calls from many celebrities and entertainers worried they would be caught up in the widening Savile investigation.

"They're phoning me and saying, 'Max, I'm worried that I'm going to be implicated.' A lot of them can't remember what they did last week, never mind 30 or 40 years ago," he said.