Accused Aussie game hacker flees to Europe ahead of trial

Interpol alert issued for supposedly naughty boy

An Australian man facing 25 hacking charges has fled to Europe ahead of a court hearing for his alleged involvement in an international hacking operation targeting Microsoft, Valve, Epic, and the US Army, according to reports.

The 19 year-old Perth man, who cannot be named as he was arrested as a juvenile in May 2013, is alleged to have been party to the theft of then-unreleased titles Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3, and an Apache helicopter training program. The attacks were said to have caused some $100m in damages.

Western Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions has informed Interpol that the man is a person of interest.

The Australian reports that the man absconded because "court delays and harassment by West Australian police made it impossible for him to fund his legal defence".

The man faces six counts of unlawful use of a computer and seven counts of possessing child-exploitation material – but rejects breaking any Australian law.

The alleged hacker told the Australian he had spent $10,000 defending himself over the last two years without his case having reached trial. He also claimed a police raid on his home last month which resulted in computers being seized contained the files of a consultancy business which was his main source of income.

Lawyer Andrew Chelvathurai says the charges against his client are not clear.

"Proving this case is going to be a real challenge for them," Chelvathurai told the paper. [My client] operated a few virtual servers on which he was system administrator, but that doesn’t mean he downloaded material himself."

The man says he spent $10,000 in legal defence adding his seized computers contained important files for his consultancy business.

Western Australia Police refused to comment on the case.

The charges include: unlawful use of a computer with intent to benefit; possessing child exploitation material; possessing or copying an indecent or obscene article; dishonestly obtaining or dealing in personal financial information; possession of identification material with intent to commit an offence; failure to obey a data access order; possessing a prohibited drug (cannabis); possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Indiana man Austin Alcala, 19, pleaded guilty April to charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and criminal copyright infringement.

Alcala was said to be involved in the theft and distribution of 11,266 log-in credentials from an unnamed company to other members of the group. ®

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