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Latvian hacker tweets hard on banking whistle

Fat cat pay leaked all over the Baltics

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A hacker has become a popular hero in the Baltics, and scourge to the authorities, by leaking information on the finances of banks and state-run firms to Latvian TV.

The whistle-blowing cracker, who calls himself Neo in an apparent Matrix tribute, is feeding embarrassing information such as the pay of managers who work for a Latvian bank that received a credit crunch bail-out to the media via Twitter.

The information reveals that bankers failed to take promised salary cuts after their banks were forced to take a state hand-out to stay afloat. Other juicy titbits involve undisclosed bonuses to senior staff at supposedly near-destitute state-owned firms.

Senior government officials are reportedly earning 2,000 lats ($4,000) a month or more while the salary of teachers has been slashed by one-third to $600 a month as part of an unpopular austerity package, AP reports.

The chief exec of Riga's heating company, Aris Zigurs, received a 16,000 lat ($32,000) bonus last year, Neo has also revealed.

Neo's stated motive is to expose waste and graft, a mission that has gone down a storm with the public in the economically-troubled country where unemployment is running at 23 per cent. The hacker claims to be part of a previously unknown group called the Fourth Awakening People's Army.

The information reportedly came from tax documents filed with Latvian authorities by 1,000 firms and hacked into by the whistleblower, who may in fact be from Britain, and his confederates over the course of three months, the BBC reports.

The Latvian government are less impressed at the hacker's mischief-making. Local police have been called in to investigate the apparent breach of corporate security by the hacker, described in some quarters as a latter day Robin Hood. ®

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