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More scandal: Gordon Brown also targeted by Murdoch paper

world Updated: Jul 11, 2011 21:59 IST
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Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's personal bank account was illegally secured by a private investigator working for The Sunday Times, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch's News International, according to new revelations on Monday.

The revelations indicating the scale of illegal procurement of personal details of celebrities, victims of crime and terrorism and the kin of dead soldiers have added fresh fuel to opposition to Murdoch's bid to takeover BSkyB.

Prime Minister David Cameron described reports of Brown's details being accessed as "appalling" and promised to get to the bottom of the illegal news gathering practices carried out by private investigators at the behest of newspapers owned by Murdoch.

Brown was targeted during a period of over 10 years, when he was the Chancellor and Prime Minister, when his personal bank account was reportedly accessed on several occasions. Brown's tax details were taken from his accountant's office reportedly by hacking into a computer, and were passed on to another newspaper.

An internal inquiry by the fraud department of Abbey National bank (now re-named Santander) found that during January 2000, somebody acting on behalf of the Sunday Times contacted its Bradford call centre six times, posing as Brown, and succeeded in extracting details from his account.

According to the BBC, private investigators acting at the behest of The Sunday Times used the method of 'blagging' to deceive call centres to convey personal details about Brown's bank accounts.