Australian Official Reveals Personal Details of Putin by Mistake

G20 Australia handout photo shows Australia's PM Abbott and Russia's President Putin each holding a koala before the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane


Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin each hold a koala before the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane on Nov. 15, 2014.

The personal details of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, were accidentally disclosed by an Australian official ahead of last year’s G20 summit in Brisbane, a news report said Monday.

The error was made by an employee within Australia’s immigration department, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported. The employee forwarded an e-mail that included the personal details of the G20 leaders to the organizers of the Asian Cup football tournament, which Australia hosted in January.

The details included passport numbers, dates of birth and visa grant numbers of the 19 visiting world leaders and 12 other high-ranking personnel, the report said, citing e-mails that it had obtained through Australia’s Freedom of Information Act.

The error was spotted almost immediately, and the immigration department contacted Australia’s privacy commissioner for advice. The e-mail disclosing the information was subsequently deleted from the records, The Guardian reported.

Controversially, an investigation into the breach recommended that the world leaders — which included U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as Putin — not be notified of the slip-up.

“Given that the risks of the breach are considered very low and the actions that have been taken to limit the further distribution of the e-mail, I do not consider it necessary to notify the clients of the breach,” wrote an official within the commissioner’s office, according to The Guardian.

It was not clear if the world leaders involved in the incident were subsequently alerted to the security breach.

The G20 leaders summit was held last year from Nov. 15-16. Putin left the summit early, however, citing “tiredness,” dismissing widespread reports that he was shunned by other world leaders at the meeting as a result of disagreements over Ukraine.