August 8, 2019 / 5:45 PM / 13 days ago

Bulgaria's data breach suspect sent back to custody

SOFIA (Reuters) - The owner of a Bulgarian cybersecurity company has been sent back into custody, a court said on Thursday, as part of an investigation into the nation’s biggest data breach.

The Appellate Specialized Court said Tad Group owner Ivan Todorov, accused of instigating last month’s attack on state tax agency NRA that compromised million of Bulgarians’ personal data and financial records, was a serious public danger.

Last week, he was detained by border police at Sofia airport but was later released on bail of 100,000 levs (£47,186).

Prosecutors on Thursday said they had enough evidence of Todorov’s involvement in the unprecedented cyber attack and urged his remand in custody. He denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said there is a recording from security cameras in the Tad Group’s office, where Todorov can be heard commenting on the phone about the NRA data breach.

A few days after the attack, police raided the offices of Tad Group, searching premises and seizing computers.

“The magistrates misinterpreted part of the evidence,” Todorov’s lawyer Ina Lulcheva said after the court’s ruling. “Besides, they were obviously eager to appease the public.”

Last month, prosecutors also charged two workers at Tad Group - Kristian Boykov, a 20-year-old cybersecurity employee and Georgi Yankov, a manager, with terrorism.

Both also deny wrongdoing. They were conditionally released from custody but banned from leaving the country.

The attack has reignited a long-running debate about lax cybersecurity standards in Bulgaria.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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