Bob Bird was detained at home in Glasgow this morning by officers from Strathclyde Police.
He has since been released from custody and a report will now be prepared for prosecutors.
A force spokewoman said: "Officers from Operation Rubicon of Strathclyde Police arrested and charged a 56-year-old man with attempting to pervert the course of justice at the time of the defamation action of Thomas Sheridan versus News Groups Newspapers.
"A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow. Proceedings are now active and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further."
Mr Bird said after his release from Govan police station: "I just want to say that I'm very sad, very disappointed that things have come to this.
"I have always done my best to do the right thing throughout the 30/40 years of my journalistic career and I will be denying the charge against me.On legal advice I can't say any more at the moment."
Operation Rubicon is the Strathclyde Police inquiry into allegations of phone hacking, breach of data protection and perjury.
Sheridan won his defamation action against the News of the World at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2006.
He was awarded £200,000 in damages after the tabloid printed claims about his private life. Mr Bird gave evidence at the hearing.
Sheridan was jailed for three years in January 2011 after being found guilty of lying about the now-defunct tabloid's claims that he was an adulterer who visited a swingers' club.
That trial, which lasted almost 12 weeks at the High Court in Glasgow, was one of the longest of its kind in Scottish legal history.
Sheridan was released from jail after serving one year of his sentence.