Last December, Madonna was forced to rush out six songs from her upcoming LP Rebel Heart after over a dozen early mixes of the album’s tracks leaked online well before the singer’s 13th album was even announced. While most hacking perpetrators remain anonymous and avoid arrest, Israeli investigators arrested one suspect they believe is responsible for the Madonna hack, Reuters reports.
Israeli police and cyber crime unit Lahav 433 confirmed they had a 38-year-old man, Adi Lederman, in custody, adding that they have evidence that the man hacked Madonna’s personal computers and then sold the Rebel Heart leaks to a third party. Authorities also remarked that Lederman had hacked into the personal computers of other artists, but did not elaborate on the other victims or what was taken. He has since been placed under house arrest, according to The Associated Press.
A lawyer for Lederman said that he was denying the allegations. She also said that he has not yet been charged and does not believe there is enough evidence for an indictment. While under house arrest, he has no access to a computer.
Lederman was once a contestant on a televised Israeli singing competition called A Star Is Born, where sang Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry About a Thing.” When one of the judges asked him what he did for a living, his reply (via the AP) was, “Mainly wasting my life away, it seems, because I’m told that I should be on stage.”
“I am profoundly grateful to the FBI, the Israeli Police investigators and anyone else who helped lead to the arrest of this hacker,” Madonna said in a Facebook message. “I deeply appreciate my fans who have provided us with pertinent information and continue to do so regarding leaks of my music. Like any citizen, I have the right to privacy. This invasion into my life – creatively, professionally, and personally remains a deeply devastating and hurtful experience, as it must be for all artists who are victims of this type of crime.”
Tel Aviv investigator Asher Wizman, whose firm was sought by Madonna’s reps after evidence suggested that the cyber attack stemmed from Israel, told Reuters, “Our investigator found her computers, at home and at a studio, were broken into from a computer in Israel. We tracked down the computer, and the man behind it. After gathering enough evidence, we turned to the police and he was arrested today.”
Following the Rebel Heart leak, Madonna rushed out six finished versions of the album’s tracks in late December. “I was hoping to release my new single ‘Living for Love’ on Valentine’s Day with the rest of the album coming in the spring,” Madonna said in a statement. “I would prefer my fans to hear completed versions of some of the songs instead of the incomplete tracks that are circulating. Please consider these six songs as an early Christmas gift.”
After the leaks, Madonna spoke to Rolling Stone about her creative process for the album. “I never sit down and consciously think I want to write a song about a subject,” she said. “Music leads me to ideas and to where I want to go emotionally. I found as I would look back at my songs and witness what I had written, I was coming from two very distinct places. That happened organically, not planned out, and I was observing, ‘Oh, these are two very strong sides of me that I need to express.'” Rebel Heart is due out March 10th.