More than 40,000 channels, films, documentaries and series were exchanged.

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At the beginning of June, a major streaming network with 2 million subscribers was seized by the Spanish national police, in cooperation with several European countries. The illegal network included more than 40,000 channels, films and series.

Following several months of investigation, involving Europol and Eurojust, the EU’s judicial cooperation unit, police services in several European countries carried out on 3 June “15 house searches, arrested 11 people (4 in Spain, 1 in Germany, 3 in Sweden and 3 in Denmark) and questioned 16 others about their possible involvement in this illegal scheme”. It was the Spanish national police force that was behind the discovery of this illegal network. As reported by Europol, the investigation started in 2019, when the Spanish national police “identified several websites illegally distributing audiovisual content in different countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East”.

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These sites relied mainly on IPTV or IPTV to make proprietary content available in exchange for subscriptions at, particularly attractive rates. At the time, these were “more than 40,000 television channels, films, documentaries, and other digital content … hosted on an international network of servers”.

Credit: Blake Connally

The investigation, which was extensive, also required the support of law enforcement authorities in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany and Luxembourg. In addition, the authorities seized “4.8 million euros, including goods worth more than two million euros, four cars worth about half a million euros, luxury watches, cash, crypto-currency and electronic equipment”. A total of 11 bank accounts and 1.1 million euros were seized.

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It should also be noted that the network had 2 million subscribers. Europol also states that it was a profit-making activity and made a profit of EUR 15 million. However, this is “a first example of the synergies created by the merger of different teams of economic and financial experts within the new European Centre for the Fight against Financial and Economic Crime recently created within Europol”. This, therefore, suggests that such investigations are likely to become more commonplace.

Source : Les numériques

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