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Celebrity hacking scandal: Russian behind website posting the pictures begins removing them, but was he the hacker?

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Sergei Kholodovskii was recently revealed as the man behind one of the most-visited websites hosting pictures of nude celebrities obtained in the iCloud hacking scandal.

Now, as Kholodovskii has apparently stopped updating the site and removed some of the pictures, his possible involvement in the actual hacking itself remains a mystery.

Kholodovskii, 28, initially claimed that he was not the owner of the site, which is registered in Arizona, but later admitted that he indeed was the direct beneficiary of the lucrative advertising revenue that resulted from the millions of hits the site has received.

Kholodovskii and his wife Yana Sotova were tracked down by the British press to his mother's home in the city of Tagliatti in Russia, where they defended posting the racy photos stolen from Apple's iCloud service used by top celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Rita Ora and Rhianna. Kholodovskii even claimed that some stars actually sent him nude photos of themselves to post on the site, but when pressed for exactly who they were, came up empty: "I don't know the names, I am not quite interested who these people are, actresses or models." An avid drag racer, he said he prefers cars and wishes that the pictures were of automobiles instead of people.

Since he was revealed as the man behind the website, he and his wife complain, ironically, that their privacy has been invaded. "In Russia this story was broadcast on all the channels and all the media wrote about it. In one day our life turned to something like hell," Yana moaned on her social networking site. As a result of the pressure, many of the images once available on the site have now been removed, including those of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Rita Ora. Though others of Kim Kardashian, Kelly Brook, and Scarlett Johansson remain, no new pictures have been uploaded to the site for nearly two weeks, and the pop-up ads that once littered the site have disappeared as well.

The big question which remains, however, is whether Kholodovskii was the person originally responsible for the actual hacking, which he vehemently denies, claiming to have simply collected the photographs from available open sources on the web when they began appearing on Aug. 31. Though no direct evidence of his involvement in the hacking has been found, on Kholodovskii's social network he acknowledges a long history as a computer programmer and even posts a photo of a book about hacking and his first programming code, written 10 years ago.

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