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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Alamy Stock Photo Luke Ming Flanagan, MEP

Belgian court hears case alleging hacking of Luke 'Ming' Flanagan's Twitter account

The tweet in question referred to another Irish politician.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 4th 2023, 10:58 AM

ALLEGATIONS THAT SOMEONE hacked and sent a damaging message from Luke Ming Flanagan’s Twitter account were heard by a Belgian criminal court today.

RTÉ reports that the Independent MEP claimed offensive comments about the then Green Party candidate Saoirse McHugh were posted from his account after it was hacked.

The accused has been named in court Diarmuid Hayes who had worked with Flanagan as an assistant in the European Parliament until 2019.

Hayes, who was present today at court, has yet to enter a plea to the charges, which RTÉ reports as involving two alleged breaches of Belgian law.

One is the fraudulent access of another person’s Twitter account. The second revolves around the changing of data on the account

Speaking to TheJournal last week, Flanagan confirmed the case would begin today, some three years after the incident took place, something Midlands North West MEP said had been particularly difficult given the delay in court proceedings. 

Flanagan appeared at the 43rd chamber of the Palais de Justice in Brussels today with members of his family. Speaking to The Journal after today’s hearing, he said he was limited in what he could say but added that he was “very relieved and it’s a big weight off my shoulders”.

Flanagan has alleged his social media account was logged into a third-party app called Tweetcaster allowing for his account to be accessed using an old password.

It is understood that Belgian police along with European parliament security have been working with Flanagan since he made the complaint.

The court decided last year there was enough evidence to progress the case.

In a statement at the time of the court’s decision to proceed, Flanagan said that his Twitter account was hacked and an extremely damaging message was posted, and subsequently deleted, by a third party against his will and knowledge.

“After a long investigation led by the Belgian authorities and with the help of the Director General for Security and Safety of the European Parliament, a preliminary court hearing took place yesterday before the Chambre du Conseil in Brussels.

“The Court, with the full support of the public prosecutor, has decided that the file contains sufficient elements against the suspect in question for the case to be sent to a criminal court in Brussels.”

Proceedings in the case will begin in January 2024 the court was told today. 

Comments closed due to ongoing court proceedings.