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€2 Billion in Bitcoin Seized by German Authorities

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Tue, 30/01/2024 - 14:57
€2 Billion in Bitcoin Seized by German Authorities
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In a landmark operation, investigators in Saxony, Germany, have secured the largest amount of cryptocurrency ever confiscated in the nation. 

Nearly 50,000 Bitcoins, with an estimated value of €2 billion, were provisionally seized in mid-January, as announced by the Dresden Public Prosecutor's Office and the Saxony State Criminal Police Office. 

These assets are linked to the notorious former pirate portal Movie2K.to. The seizure marks a significant victory in the fight against digital piracy and money laundering.

A historic Bitcoin seizure 

The monumental seizure results from an extensive investigation targeting two individuals, aged 37 and 40, allegedly the masterminds behind Germany's prominent pirated copy portal, operational until May 2013. 

Accused of distributing over 880,000 pirated films and running an illegal streaming service, these operators reportedly converted their illicit earnings into Bitcoins

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Authorities are probing the case under suspicions of copyright infringement and commercial money laundering. 

The confiscated Bitcoins were willingly transferred by a suspect to a digital wallet under the Federal Criminal Police Office's management, signaling a cooperative turn in the ongoing investigation.

A blast from the past 

Movie2K.to was once a giant in the world of illegal streaming for German-speaking audiences. However, it faced its demise back in 2013 amid escalating legal pressures. 

Surpassing traffic of giants like Amazon and Twitter, Movie2K.to was a hub for copyright infringement, leading to substantial Bitcoin earnings for its operators through advertisements and subscriptions. 

Despite going dark, the platform remained in the crosshairs of German law enforcement, culminating in the 2019 arrest of three men associated with the site's operations. 

The crackdown has since unraveled a complex web of money laundering, fraud, and intellectual property crimes, with links to the real estate sector where the ill-gotten gains were laundered into physical assets.

The utilization of the seized Bitcoins remains undecided for now.

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