Suspect arrested in Madonna demo leak case
Police in Israel have arrested a man on suspicion of hacking into Madonna’s computer and releasing demo versions of songs on her new album Rebel Heart online, according to reports by YNet.com and the Hollywood Reporter.
Local TV Channel 2 news reports that the 39-year-old was arrested Wednesday following a month-long investigation involving a private investigation firm and the cyber crime unit of Israel’s Lahav 433, a crime-fighting organization comparable to the FBI.
According to a statement by Lahav 433, the suspect “broke into the personal computers of several international artists over the past few months and stole promotional final-cut singles which have yet to be released and traded them online for a fee.” It added: “In light of the findings of the investigation the unit collaborated closely with the FBI, with suspicion of even more break-ins to computers owned by unknown international artists, stealing and selling their works.”
Tel Aviv-based investigations firm Wizman Yaar Investigations released a statement saying it began looking into the case after receiving a complaint from Guy Oseary‘s office. According to the statement, it sent an agent to New York “to check the singer’s personal computer, confirming there was indeed a break in from a computer in Israel.”
The firm said it then traced the source of the computer to Tel Aviv and contacted Lahav 433, which continued the formal investigation. The resulting in a warrant to search the suspect’s home, culminating in the arrest. Police searched the suspect’s home, seizing computers and media storage devices., the report says.
The name of the 39-year-old suspect was not immediately released by police, who said its cyber unit had carried out an investigation along with the FBI following a complaint from a Madonna representative in Israel.
“He is suspected of computer hacking, copyright violation and fraudulent receipt of goods,” a police spokesman said, declining to confirm that Madonna was a target.
“During the investigation it appeared the suspect had broken into the computers of a number of international artists, stole unreleased demos and final tracks and sold them over the internet,” the spokesman said.
No charges have yet been filed against him.