Monday, July 11, 2011

News International papers targeted Gordon Brown

Newspapers obtained details from the former prime minister's bank account and legal file and his family's medical records
Police investigating phone hacking have found mentions of Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah in notebooks seized from Glenn Mulcaire. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
Journalists from across News International repeatedly targeted the former prime minister Gordon Brown, attempting to access his voicemail and obtaining information from his bank account, his legal file as well as his family's medical records.

There is also evidence that a private investigator used a serving police officer to trawl the police national computer for information about him.

That investigator also targeted another Labour MP who was the subject of hostile inquiries by the News of the World, but it has not confirmed whether News International was specifically involved in trawling police computers for information on Brown.

Separately, Brown's tax paperwork was taken from his accountant's office apparently by hacking into the firm's computer. This was passed to another newspaper.

Brown was targeted during a period of more than 10 years, both as chancellor of the exchequer and as prime minister. Some of the activity clearly was illegal. Other incidents breached his privacy but not the law. An investigation by the Guardian has found that:

• Scotland Yard has discovered references to both Brown and his wife, Sarah, in paperwork seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who specialised in phone hacking for the News of the World;

• Abbey National bank found evidence suggesting that a "blagger" acting for the Sunday Times on six occasions posed as Brown and gained details from his account;

• Brown's London lawyers, Allen & Overy, were tricked into handing over details from his file by a conman working for the Sunday Times;

• Details from his infant son's medical records were obtained by the Sun, who published a story about the child's serious illness.