JERUSALEM – An Israeli man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of hacking Madonna’s computer and selling the pop icon’s songs online, a private investigator involved in the case said.
Israeli police confirmed they had detained a man suspected of stealing the work of a number of international stars, but declined to name any of the possible victims.
In December, unfinished tracks were leaked from Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” album before its release, an act the singer described as “artistic rape” in a post, later deleted, from her Instagram account.
Asher Wizman, owner of the Wizman-Yaar investigation firm in Israel, said Madonna’s team contacted his company several weeks ago to look into the matter after rumors of an Israeli connection to the leak.
Madonna, a devotee of Jewish mysticism, has visited Israel several times and kicked off a 2012 world tour in Tel Aviv.
“Our investigator found her computers, at home and at a studio, were broken into from a computer in Israel,” Wizman said. “We tracked down the computer, and the man behind it. After gathering enough evidence, we turned to the police and he was arrested today.”
The name of the 39-year-old suspect was not immediately released by police, who said its cyberunit had carried out an investigation along with the FBI following a complaint from a Madonna representative in Israel.
Israeli media said the man taken into custody was a former contestant on a popular television singing contest 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.