Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Dane suspected of hacking into Rasmussen's e-mails

AP , COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

A man has been arrested on suspicion he hacked into Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen's e-mails and tried to sell them to a newspaper, police said on Thursday.

The 30-year-old man, who was not named because of Danish privacy rules, reportedly claimed the e-mails contained information about Rasmussen's whereabouts before the Tour de France.

Rasmussen was kicked out of the Tour by his Rabobank team -- while leading the race -- for allegedly lying about his whereabouts to evade drug testers.

Rasmussen missed random drug tests in May and June. He said he had been in Mexico, but a former Italian rider said he saw him in Italy at the time.

The man was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly tried to sell Rasmussen's e-mails to the B.T. newspaper in Copenhagen.

He faces preliminary charges of illegally obtaining another person's e-mail. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison.

At a custody hearing on Thursday, the suspect denied the charges. However, the city court in Herning, western Denmark, ordered him held for two weeks to allow police to investigate the case. Preliminary charges are a step short of formal charges.

B.T. said it was contacted on Monday by a person offering to sell the contents of Rasmussen's e-mail inbox. The man said he had guessed the rider's password to access the account. The newspaper contacted Rasmussen, who confirmed it was his e-mail account.

Police in Herning seized several computers and hard disks at the suspect's home, police officer Jim Hansen said.

The suspect had no previous criminal record, Hansen added.

Rasmussen captured the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey after winning the eighth stage on July 15, and held onto it through the 16th stage when he was ousted by the team -- just four days before the three-week race ended on July 29. Spain's Alberto Contador was the winner.

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