Unprecedented Seizure: Suspects Surrender 50,000 Bitcoins Worth €2 Billion to German Authorities in Major Movie Piracy Crackdown

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In a stunning move, a suspect involved in the operation of the infamous website movie2k.to has surrendered almost 50,000 Bitcoins, valued at approximately two billion euros, to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). This took place in Saxony, Germany, during an ongoing investigation. This surrender was made voluntarily by one of the suspects in a movie piracy case under investigation by the BKA.

This case represents the largest seizure of Bitcoins by law enforcement in Germany to date. The Bitcoins were transferred to a BKA-controlled wallet, though decisions regarding their final utilization remain pending.

The inquiry focuses on two men, aged 40 and 37, suspected of running a “leading German” portal for distributing illegal copies of films and TV series until May 2013. The proceeds from this operation were allegedly used to acquire the Bitcoins. They are facing allegations of commercial unauthorized exploitation of copyrighted works under the Copyright Act and subsequent commercial money laundering.

movie2k.to is a portal, which is accused of disseminating over 880,000 illegal copies of films and TV series from fall 2008 to May 2013. In a related incident in 2020, the site’s programmer, detained since 2019, surrendered Bitcoins worth 25 million euros to the authorities as “compensation for damages.” The Dresden Public Prosecutor General’s Office mentioned additional suspects at the time but had not been apprehended.

The current probe involves the Dresden Public Prosecutor General’s Office, the Saxony State Office of Criminal Investigation, and the tax investigation department of the Leipzig tax office, with support from the BKA, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and an IT expert firm based in Munich. However, no formal charges have been filed yet.

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