A man was arrested in Israel on Wednesday on suspicion he hacked into Madonna’s personal computers in December, and leaked songs from her new album “Rebel Hearts” online, a police source told Reuters.
As previously reported, Madonna was forced to rush the release of the album last, after a hacker leaked six work-in-progress demos. At the time, the singer described the event as an “artistic rape” on Instagram, but she later deleted the post.
Asher Wizman, an Israeli private investigator, said representatives for Madonna contacted him several weeks prior to the unidentified man’s arrest after hearing rumors an Israeli computer might be connected to the hack.
“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.”
Police have confirmed that a 39-year-old Israeli man has been detained, but cited a gag order when refusing to name the man or any alleged victims. Officials also told Reuters the FBI assisted its cyber unit in the investigation following a complaint from a Madonna representative in the country.
“He is suspected of computer hacking, copyright violation and fraudulent receipt of goods,” a police spokesperson said.
He continued: “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.”
No charges have been filed against the man, but sources say he is also suspected of hacking into computers of other artists.
Israeli media outlets are also reporting the suspect was once a contestant on a popular televised singing contest in the country.
“The Queen of Pop” originally planned to release the single “Living for Love” on Valentine’s Day, however opted to release it early after the unfinished content was leaked.
“I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating,” she said. “Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift.”
She was also criticized earlier this month for altering photos of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and others, in order to promote the album. She later apologized.