Teenager who leaked Grand Theft Auto clips in hacking spree given hospital order

22 December 2023, 12:54

A laptop user with their hood up
Laptop User Stock. Picture: PA

Arion Kurtaj, 18, was described as a ‘key player’ in the LapsusS hacking group.

A teenager who leaked clips of an upcoming Grand Theft Auto game during a hacking spree has been sentenced to a hospital order, court staff have said.

Arion Kurtaj, 18, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons were described by the prosecution as the “key players” in the LapsusS hacking group.

Psychiatrists had assessed Kurtaj as unfit to stand trial so the role of the jury in his case was to decide whether he had committed the acts alleged against him.

Following a two-month trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court plus nine hours and 19 minutes of deliberations, a jury unanimously found Kurtaj had carried out 12 offences in his spree of innovative hacks.

Southwark Crown Court
Neither defendant gave evidence during the jury trial at Southwark Crown Court (Sean Dempsey/PA)

These offences included six counts of carrying out an unauthorised act to impair the operation of a computer, three counts of blackmail, two fraud offences, and failing to comply with a section 49 notice to disclose a key when he did not give up the password to his mobile phone when asked to by police.

He tried to blackmail Rockstar Games by threatening to “leak the stolen source code for the Grand Theft Auto sequel on to internet forums”, the indictment stated.

Kurtaj and the youth were also accused of hacking software company Nvidia in February 2022 before threatening to “release Nvidia Corporation’s intellectual property on to the web” if it did not pay them.

At a sentencing hearing at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday, Kurtaj was given a hospital order, meaning he will remain at a secure hospital unless doctors deem him no longer a danger, a court worker told the PA news agency.

Kurtaj’s defence counsel David Miller described the youngster as “the most vulnerable of adolescents” who was now pitted against huge companies and corporations worth billions, who had unlimited funds and unlimited resources including the FBI, National Crime Agency, Interpol and City of London Police.

By Press Association

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