Former British prime minister Gordon Brown has accused Rupert Murdoch's newspapers The Sun and the Sunday Times of hiring "known criminals" to obtain confidential information about his family.
AFP - British former prime minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday accused newspapers from Rupert Murdoch's media empire of using "known criminals" to hack into his personal information.
He also said he was "in tears" after The Sun published details of his son's illness in 2006, adding that then-editor and now News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks had phoned him to say they were running the story.
"I think what happened pretty early on in government was that the Sunday Times appear to have got access to my building society account, they got access to my legal files," Brown told the BBC.
"But I'm shocked, I'm genuinely shocked to find that this happened because of their links with criminals, known criminals who were undertaking this activity, hired by investigators who were working with the Sunday Times."
He accused News International of using "people who were known criminals, people who had in some cases criminal records, and that News International was working through links they had with the criminal underworld."
Brown's dramatic intervention means that a scandal over phone hacking at the Murdoch-owned News of the World has now widened to engulf two of the other three papers in News International, Murdoch's British stable.
Murdoch shut down the News of the World last week.
Brown, who was Labour prime minister from 2007 to 2010, and finance minister for a decade before then, questioned how the The Sun was in 2006 able to obtain details revealing that his younger son Fraser had cystic fibrosis.
"I've never talked publicly about Fraser's condition. And obviously we wanted that to be kept private for all the obvious reasons," Brown said.
Asked how it affected him, Brown said: "In tears. Your son is being broadcast across the media. Sarah (his wife) and I are incredibly upset about it, we're thinking about his long-term future, we're thinking about our family."
When asked if Brooks had called him, he said: "We were told by The Sun and Rebekah Wade (her maiden name) at the time."
"You've got to ask yourself where are they getting this information from?" he added.
"They will have to explain themselves, I can't think of any way that the medical condition of a child could be put into the public arena legitimately unless the doctor makes a statement or the family makes a statement."
Date created : 2011-07-11