Telegram hacker sentenced to 20 years in Brazil


Walter Delgatti, known as the Vaza Jato Hacker, will spend 20 years in prison and pay a fine for hacking into the Telegram accounts of important government officials.

Delgatti was sentenced for crimes such as hacking into a computer device, criminal organization, money laundering, and interception of communications.

The decision can be appealed but experts in the country say leniency is highly unlikely as Delgatti had hacked the famous Operation Car Wash. This was a special investigation into corruption cases involving government officials and other politicians.

Delgatti was detained in 2019 on suspicion of hacking into the Telegram accounts of prominent figures, including former Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, former Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, and former prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, a member of the Operation Car Wash task force.

The hacker had breached hundreds of Telegram accounts, the court established. Delgatti had attempted to sell the pilfered Telegram – a encrypted messaging app that was briefly suspended in Brazil in April 2023 – conversations to the media for around $40,000, the judge said.

Delgatti himself has consistently claimed that he wanted to fight “injustices” allegedly committed during the special operation. But the sentence clearly outlines that the hacker peddled the ill-gotten information such as bank details on criminal forums online.

"To gain insight into Walter Delgatti's fraudulent techniques, a recorded conversation reveals Delgatti posing as the individual responsible for a financial institution's technical and security domain. He guides a bank customer through the installation of a malicious program by updating the customer's computer," the judge concluded, according to agenciaBrasil.

However, even if Delgatti is going down, it seems he wants to take Jair Bolsonaro, the former president of Brazil, with him.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Delgatti told a congressional inquiry that Bolsonaro had asked him to tamper with an electronic voting machine to show that the country’s electoral system was vulnerable to fraud during last year’s presidential campaign.

The hacker told lawmakers that he met with Bolsonaro in August 2022, who asked him to discuss the idea with experts at the defense ministry and offered to pardon him if he suffered legal consequences. Delgatti said he never managed to hack a voting machine but was still paid.

"He gave me a blank check to do what I wanted with the voting machines," Delgatti told the inquiry. "The idea was to take a machine so I could install my app there and show the population that it is possible to press the button for one vote and end up with another."

An electoral court earlier declared Bolsonaro ineligible for public office until 2030 for abusing his presidential powers to undermine trust in Brazil's electoral system.

Allies of Bolsonaro, who narrowly lost last year’s election to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva but never admitted defeat, fear he could eventually face criminal charges. He is already facing several investigations into his attacks on the voting system.


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