Police in the eastern German state of Saxony have seized 50,000 bitcoins from the former operator of the pirate site movie2k.to through voluntary deposits into state-controlled wallets.
This is a record number for the country’s law enforcement authorities and is worth more than $2.1 billion at the current Bitcoin-to-US dollar exchange rate.
Movie2k was a platform that operated in a legal gray area from 2008 to 2013, providing links to stream or download movies and TV shows to primarily English- and German-speaking users. but did not host any copyrighted material.
As Movie2k.to played a central role in piracy, it faced intense scrutiny and legal challenges from authorities and various entertainment industry bodies, leading to multiple blocks at the ISP level and forcing the operator to I was forced to change my domain several times.
The original Movie2k.to was removed around May 2013 following legal action by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
With the assistance of FBI experts, German law enforcement authorities continued to investigate the background of the operators behind the original platform, ultimately identifying a 40-year-old German and a 37-year-old Polish national.
According to police, one of the two suspects voluntarily transferred the Bitcoin to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).
This amount appears to have come from profits earned through the operation of Movie2k, such as advertising revenue and membership registration.
In anticipation of the legal risks associated with operating a large-scale pirated platform, the platform’s operators announced that they would be legally required to do so in mid-2012, either as an investment option or on the assumption that cryptocurrencies would be more difficult to track and confiscate. Actively started exchanging currency and Bitcoin.
“Approximately 50,000 Bitcoins were provisionally secured in mid-January 2024 in an investigation by the Dresden General Prosecutor’s Office, the Saxon State Criminal Police Office, and a tax investigation by the Leipzig Second Tax Office as part of the Saxony Integrated Investigation Unit (INES). ” said the police statement.
“This is the most extensive Bitcoin security ever by a law enforcement agency in the Federal Republic of Germany.”
Police said the suspect voluntarily transferred the money to a wallet provided by BKA, and a final decision on the use of this amount is pending.
According to German news site TarnKappe, one of the two suspects was also involved in mega-downloads.net, which Hannover police have been trying to uncover since 2009.
In August 2020, the site’s programmer, who had been detained since November 2019, handed over $25 million worth of Bitcoin (at the time) to authorities and admitted his involvement in the platform.