A 20-year-old German man confessed to stealing and leaking private data from hundreds of politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, because he was “annoyed” by them.
The man, who is still studying and lives with his parents, ended up held after police searched the family home in the western state of Hesse.
The suspect did not remain in custody because he is fully cooperating and police did not feel he was a flight risk, said Georg Ungefuk, a spokesman for the Frankfurt prosecution service’s Internet crime office ZIT.
“The accused said he published the data because he had been annoyed by certain statements made by those affected,” Ungefuk said at a press conference in Wiesbaden.
The suspect, who because of his age falls under juvenile law in Germany, told police he acted alone.
He stands accused of spying and illegally publishing personal data.
The suspect made a “comprehensive” confession and has shown “clear remorse” about the breach that hit 1,000 politicians, journalists and celebrities and piled political pressure on the government, Ungefuk said.
The information leaked online comprised home addresses, mobile phone numbers, letters, invoices and copies of identity documents. The data was first released via Twitter in December but its spread gathered pace last week.
Among those affected were members of the Bundestag lower house of parliament and the European Parliament as well as regional and local assemblies.
Deputies from all parties in the Bundestag were targeted with the exception of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the largest opposition group.
Although the leak was sweeping, there is no evidence that sensitive information reached the public.