Police arrest popular hacker 'Neo'

  • 2010-05-13
  • Oskars Magone

The hacker known as

RIGA -- Latvian police have arrested a man that confessed to being a hacker known as "Neo", who has become something of a folk hero in the country after revealing the tax records of several prominent polticians and businessmen.

Ilmars Poikans, the 31-year-old researcher at the AI Laboratory of the University of Latvia's Institute of Mathematics and Information Sciences who was detained yesterday, now faces as much as 10 years in prison.

Neo heads the activist group "Fourth National Reawakening Army" (4ATA), which recently regularly made public salaries at state and municipal institutions and companies on the Internet, national news agency LETA reported.

The data shows that top executives of the municipal companies received huge monthly salaries — 4,000 lats (€5,700) and higher — while enormous bonuses, including 16,000 lats (€22,500) to Riga Heat CEO Aris Zigurs last March, went through while regular employees took wage reductions in light of budget cuts.

The arrest came after police searched the house of prominent television journalst Ilze Nagla, who first broke the story about the leaked tax declarations.

Nagla claimed that the raid was a violation of freedom of the press, but police authorities claimed they were within their rights to search her home and confiscate her laptop.

"With the searches our goal was not to get the journalist's source, but to determine if the journalist's computer contained data from the state revenue service," national police chief Valdis Voins told reporters.