German authorities have seized over €25 million ($29.6 million) worth of bitcoin and bitcoin cash from the alleged programmer of a movie piracy website called movie2k.to
According to a press release prosecutors sent out, the movie piracy website ran for five years and in that time reportedly distributed over 880,000 pirated copies of films. It had two main operators who, together with accomplices, ran the website up until 2013, when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed a lawsuit to block access to the website in a U.K. court.
The website’s operators have now been charged with running the illegal movie piracy service, which enabled users to watch films without having to download them. While one of the website’s operators is still on the run, the other one – allegedly its programmer – has been in police custody since November 2019.
The Dresden Public Prosecutor’s Office, supported by the State Criminal Police Office in Saxony and the Leipzig Tax Investigation Department, has announced he forfeited his near $30 million worth of BTC and BCH and is now cooperating with authorities.
The website’s programmer, however, is alleged to have gotten over 22,000 BTC from advertising and subscription revenue made on movie2k.to, and mostly used the cryptocurrency to acquire properties via a real estate firm in Berlin.
The funds were traced through a joint investigative effort between the German Federal Criminal Police Office and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations. German newspaper Der Spiegel writes that movie2k.to was one of the world’s leading pirated movies content distribution platforms for years, next to kino.to and neu.to. The founder and operator of kino.to was sentenced to prison for four and a half years in 2012.
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