London: Rupert Murdoch's media empire sank into deeper controversy with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accusing newspapers from the group of using 'known criminals' to hack into his personal information.
It is not only Brown but other ministers and lawmakers who are up in arms against the 80-year-old media baron and spate of allegations against the group have plunged BSkyB shares six days in running.
Brown told BBC that he was in tears after 'The Sun' published details about his son's illness in 2006 and then editor of News International Rebekah Brooks had phoned him to say that they were running a story.
"They accessed my building society account, my legal files and I was shocked to find that this happened because of their links with the criminals, who were hired by investigators working with the Sunday Times," Brown said.
Brown's dramatic disclosures have widened the phone hacking controversy at the Murdoch owned, now shutdown 'News of the World' to his other British stables.
Brown's revelations evoked support from his successor David Cameron who said "his heart went out to him".
"This is yet another appalling invasion of privacy," Cameron said, adding that it was unacceptable and heart breaking for the family concerned.
The woes of Murdoch are compounding with opposition Labour lawmakers demanding a hearing from Metropolitan Police officials, while no investigations were carried out into the hacking.
Brown's party has called for resignation of John Yates assistant commissioner of metropolitan police who decided in 2009 that there was nothing more to investigate.
New revelations by the hour seemed to make it increasingly unlikely that Murdoch's takeover bid of broadcaster BSkyB will be approved by the David Cameron government.
Brown said he was "in tears" when he was told by News International journalists that The Sun had details of his son Fraser's medical condition (he has cystic fibrosis) because he had wanted the information to be kept private.
"Sarah and I were incredibly upset about it, we were thinking about his long term future, we were thinking about our family," he said.
He said he did not know how the newspaper had got access to the details: "The fact is, it did appear and it did appear in the Sun newspaper."
First Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 17:55