German authorities confiscate $ 30 million in Bitcoin from pirate movie site
German authorities, with the help of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), confiscated approximately $ 30 million in bitcoin from the operator of a pirate movie website. An unspecified amount of bitcoin cash was also seized.
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash seized
The media service of the German state of Saxony announced on Monday the confiscation of “bitcoins with a total value of 25 million euros [$30 million]. The seizure was related to a case involving the movie2k.to website, a user-provided video directory for movies and television programs that allowed users to download pirated content.
The Dresden Attorney General’s Office, the Saxony State Criminal Police Office and the Leipzig Tax Division have investigated two main operators of this pirate movie portal and a Berlin real estate entrepreneur linked to the case. All the accused are German nationals. Site operators have reportedly distributed more than 880,000 pirated movies and TV shows through the movie2k.to platform. They also operated an illegal streaming service between fall 2008 and May 2013, details of the announcement.
One of the operators was the site programmer. He and the real estate entrepreneur have been in custody since November last year on suspicion of commercial money laundering. The authorities claim to have “fully admitted” the crime and are now helping the police in investigations against the second operator.
The programmer has used revenue from advertising and “subscription traps” to “buy large amounts of bitcoin” since mid-2012, the ad adds. Subscription traps refer to when users signed up for a service but then found it almost impossible to cancel.
“The programmer received over 22,000 bitcoins from this,” authorities explained, noting that he mainly used the cryptocurrency to acquire real estate between fall 2013 and mid-2016. The real estate entrepreneur is said to have invested and managed the programmer’s income on the movie2k.to website. The pirate site closed in 2013 due to copyright infringement issues and was replaced by movie4k.to. At the current rate of $ 11,640, the programmer BTC would be worth $ 256 million.
With the help of the German Federal Office of Criminal Police and the US FBI, authorities discovered and seized bitcoins and cash bitcoins belonging to the programmer. “The bitcoins seized were voluntarily released by the programmer during his questioning by the public prosecutor for damages,” concludes the announcement without specifying the number of coins seized.
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