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The informant who led police to the self-confessed author of the infamous Sasser worm is himself under investigation.

Marle B. - the man who provided the tip-off to Microsoft that led to the arrest of Sven Jaschan, 18 - has become a suspect in the German police's computer sabotage inquiry. Munich-based weekly Focus reports that a criminal investigation would blight Marle B's chances of a share in the $250,000 reward money from Microsoft's Anti-Virus Reward Program that caused him to come forward in the first place.

"If he was involved in Sasser, then he will go away empty-handed," Microsoft spokesman, Thomas Baumgaertner, told Focus.

18-year-old Jaschan was arrested in the village of Waffensen near Rotenburg, in northern Germany, on 7 May in connection with writing and distributing the Sasser worm. He later confessed to police that he was both the author of Sasser and the original author of the NetSky worm. Police are expected to lay computer sabotage charges against Jaschan, who has been released on bail pending further proceedings.

Last week German police raided five homes and questioned five further suspects as the inquiry into the release of the NetSky worm widened. The five new suspects are all school-friends of Jaschan, according to local reports. Two of the suspects questioned have admitted receiving the source code of NetSky from Jaschan and one has admitted distributing a version of the noxious NetSky worm. Suspects were questioned but no further arrests were made.

Public prosecutor Helmut Trentmann told German news agency DPA that Jaschan's confession has expedited the 18 year-old trial, which could begin in a juvenile court in a matter of weeks. ®

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