Ex-PM Brown alleges Murdoch paper used criminals

Ex-PM Brown alleges Murdoch paper used criminals

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Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday accused Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers of employing criminals to obtain confidential information about his family and others.

Brown told BBC News that “the people that they work with are criminals. Known criminals. Criminals with records.”

He said that early in his time in office it appeared that The Sunday Times — part of Murdoch’s News International Group — had obtained confidential information on his bank account, legal files and possibly other material .

“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 with The Sunday Times,” he said.

Brown also told the BBC that he was “in tears” after The Sun newspaper obtained details about his son Fraser’s health. The child has cystic fibrosis and The Sun ran a story about it despite Brown and his wife wanting to keep this information private.

“Sarah and I were incredibly upset about it, we were thinking about his long-term future, we were thinking about our family,” Brown told the BBC.

A spokesman for Murdoch’s firm told NBC News that they would “investigate these matters.”

Later Tuesday, a legislative committee is to question senior London police officers about why they didn’t pursue a phone hacking investigation at the tabloid News of the World two years ago.

The newspaper was shut amid a flurry of public indignation over allegations it hacked into phones, including that of a murdered 13-year-old.

James Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, leaves News International’s office in London on Monday.

Before Tuesday’s hearing, opposition Labour Party legislators called for the resignation of John Yates, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

He decided in 2009 that there was nothing more to investigate at the paper. Yates says he relied on advice from colleagues.

In 2007, a reporter and a private detective working for News of the World were sent to prison for hacking the voicemail messages of royal family employees.

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The outrage over wrongdoing at the Murdoch-owned best-selling tabloid News of the World began only last week.

With breathtaking speed, it has now disrupted the media mogul’s plansto take over highly profitable satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting and slashed billions off the value of his global conglomerate, News Corp.

A final decision on the multibillion-pound BSKyB takeover was delayed after Murdoch withdrew a promise to spin off news channel Sky News, inviting the British government to refer the bid to authorities charged with enforcing anti-monopoly laws.

That is expected to delay any decision on the deal for months.

The scandal has also highlighted the unparalleled political influence of Murdoch’s collection of newspaper titles — and touched Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Conservative leader’s former communications chief, Andy Coulson, was arrested last week in connection with allegations of payments to police when he was editor of the News of the World.

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