Slater-hired hacker pleads guilty to fraud

Ben Rachinger was set to stand trial today but instead changed his plea from not guilty to guilty (Newshub.)
Ben Rachinger was set to stand trial today but instead changed his plea from not guilty to guilty (Newshub.)

A hacker who was hired by blogger Cameron Slater to infiltrate a left-wing blog site has pleaded guilty to fraud in the Manukau District Court.

IT consultant Ben Rachinger, 28, was hired by Mr Slater to hack into left-wing website The Standard, with the aim of embarrassing the Labour Party.

Mr Rachinger was paid $1000 by Mr Slater, but never carried out the hack they discussed. Instead he blew the whistle to TV3's The Nation, telling the programme he was asked by Mr Slater to figure out who The Standard's contributors were and record their IP and email addresses.

Police alleged Mr Rachinger never intended to follow through with the promise he made to Slater. He was charged with obtaining $1000 by deception for saying he could and would hack the site.

Mr Rachinger was set to stand trial today but instead changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. He'll be sentenced on the March 9.

Mr Slater runs the controversial Whale-Oil blog, a right-wing news and opinion site which regularly criticises the Labour Party.

A summary of facts shows Mr Slater believed Labour politicians were writing for The Standard and posting their views anonymously online.

He offered Rachinger $5000 - paying him $1000 up front - believing the hack on The Standard's servers would uncover evidence of links to Labour.

Labour leader Andrew Little told Newshub earlier this year the party has no links to the left-wing blog.

Mr Slater admitted his part in the plot and was discharged without conviction in May.

Mr Rachinger is also seeking a discharge without conviction, and told Newshub outside court he's looking forward to the chance to put the matter behind him.

Newshub.

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