Israeli police arrest a hacker accused of stealing Madonna's songs
"I am profoundly grateful," the Queen of Pop says in a Facebook post
Madonna's lawyer tells Haaretz the theft cost her millions of dollars
Madonna says Israeli police have arrested a hacker who stole unfinished versions of her newest songs and leaked them online.
“I am profoundly grateful to the FBI, the Israeli Police investigators and anyone else who helped lead to the arrest of this hacker,” the pop singer said in a statement posted on her Facebook page Wednesday. “I deeply appreciate my fans who have provided us with pertinent information and continue to do so regarding leaks of my music.”
An undercover Israeli police investigation in collaboration with the FBI led to the suspect, Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
“The Tel Aviv resident, born in 1976, was believed to have stolen work from a number of artists and sold it online,” Samri said. “We have confiscated many materials and computer equipment from the suspect’s house and investigations are still under way.”
The stolen material included “songs that haven’t yet been released, sketches of songs, photos and other personal material,” Tamir Afori, Madonna’s attorney in Israel, told Haaretz.
The theft cost the Queen of Pop millions of dollars in professional and personal damages, he told the newspaper.
According to Haaretz, the suspect is a 38-year-old man who was set to be arraigned on charges of intellectual property theft and aggravated fraud.
The FBI said its investigation would continue.
“This case highlights the international scope of online criminal activity and the need for close cooperation between nations as we collectively identify and bring to justice those who pose a threat in cyberspace,” the FBI said.
Madonna’s next album, “Rebel Heart,” is set for release in March.
After the songs leaked in December, a photo of broken iPod appeared on Madonna’s Instagram feed.
“This broken ipod is a symbol of my broken heart! That my music has been stolen and leaked! I have been violated as a human and an artist!” she wrote.
Leaks have tormented Madonna in the past. In 2003, the singer’s website was defaced and every song off her “American Life” album was leaked online.
In her statement Wednesday, Madonna said her right to privacy had been violated.
“This invasion into my life – creatively, professionally, and personally – remains a deeply devastating and hurtful experience,” she said, “as it must be for all artists who are victims of this type of crime.”
CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz and Jareen Imam contributed to this report.