The German police have seized millions in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from the defunct site’s operator
Crypto assets totalling €25 Million EUR ($29.7 million) were seized from the operators of movie2k.to earlier this week by the Dresden General Prosecutor’s Office in collaboration with other German and international authorities.
The seizure was the result of cooperative efforts made by the Federal Criminal Police Office, the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Dresden General Prosecutor’s Office — with the funds being voluntarily released by the programmer as damage reparation.
Two operators of the site under investigation
The website had two operators who have been in custody since November 2019; one of them is a real estate entrepreneur from Berlin and the other one is the programmer who created the website.
The first operator is also accused of commercial money laundering, which could be related to the use of the cryptocurrency of the programmer to purchase real estate across Germany.
The accused programmer used the advertisement and subscription revenue to buy Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash starting in mid-2012 — receiving over 22,000 bitcoins in the process, which were then used to purchase real-estate.
The programmer has admitted to their part in the operation and is now collaborating with prosecutors to build a case against the other operator.
The police accused the two operators of having distributed more than 880,000 pirated films using the website, as well as operating an illegal streaming service from 2008 to 2013.
Germany has strict anti-piracy regulations
The European country is well known for its strict enforcement of anti-piracy laws, as well as the way it prosecutes those who break existing regulations.
Piracy crime sentences can range from fines, to up to three years in prison for users who access pirated material. This has resulted in less than 2% of German internet users becoming pirates, according to MUSO.
While the streaming of copyrighted material is technically not illegal as the material is not stored in a conventional way, users in Germany avoid such options as the regulation is not entirely clear.