AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd on New Zealand murder plot charge
The drummer of the hard rock group AC/DC, Phil Rudd, has appeared in a New Zealand court on charges of attempting to arrange a murder.
Mr Rudd, who was born in Australia, has also been charged with possessing the drugs methamphetamine and cannabis, and of making threats to kill.
The musician's waterfront house in Tauranga, on New Zealand's North Island, was raided on Thursday morning.
AC/DC are due to release a new album later this year.
A statement on the band's website said: "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment.
"Phil's absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year."
Mr Rudd, 60, was released on bail after a brief appearance at Tauranga district court.
As part of his bail conditions, he must not have any contact with anyone involved in the alleged murder plot.
Local media reports say that the alleged plot targeted two men. The judge ruled that their names as well as that of the alleged hit-man cannot be revealed.
Mr Rudd will appear in court again on 27 November. He has yet to enter a plea.
Under New Zealand law, the charge of attempting to "procure" a murder carries a jail sentence of up to 10 years.
A police official quoted by the SunLive news website said the information that led to the raid on the house was provided by a member of the public.
Mr Rudd was kicked out of the band in 1983 and rejoined in 1994.
But he did not appear in a new photo of band members released last month to promote their upcoming album Rock Or Bust, and was reportedly absent from the filming of a new music video, prompting online speculation about whether he was still in the band.
- One of Australia's biggest music exports and among the highest grossing music acts of all time.
- Known for top hits such as Highway to Hell, You Shook Me All Night Long, Back in Black, Hell's Bells and Dirty Deeds Done Cheap.
- The band was founded by brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in 1973, who named it after the abbreviation for "alternating current direct current" - hence the lightning bolt on their logo.
- Angus, the lead guitarist, is known for his schoolboy outfits which he still wears for performances.
- The Young brothers were the only original members in the band for decades until Malcolm's departure in 2014 after he was diagnosed with dementia.
- More than a dozen people have been part of the band over the years, including late singer Bon Scott who died of alcohol poisoning in 1980.
- The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.