The editor of Britain's Sunday Times has confirmed that someone working for the newspaper impersonated Gordon Brown to obtain details about the former prime minister's finances.
John Witherow told Britain's judge-led inquiry into media ethics on Tuesday that the paper used deceit to obtain information from Abbey National bank as part of a 2000 investigation into Brown's purchase of an apartment. Brown, then Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, later became prime minister.
The Sunday Times has argued the story was in the public interest, and therefore obtaining information by deceit _ or "blagging" _ was defensible.
Witherow said while the paper sometimes used subterfuge for stories in the public interest it has never hacked phones.
The press-ethics inquiry was set up following revelations News of the World journalists had illegally eavesdropped on voicemails.