German law enforcement authorities provisionally seized nearly 50,000 Bitcoin (BTC) worth $2.17 billion as part of an investigation into an illegal movie streaming website.
According to the Dresden Public Prosecutor’s Office, the investigation involves two men suspected of operating the piracy portal and purchasing Bitcoin using the proceeds of their illicit activities.
“The ongoing investigations on suspicion of commercial unauthorized exploitation of copyrighted works under the Copyright Act and the subsequent commercial money laundering, among others, are directed against two responsible persons (m, 40 years, German; m, 37 years, Polish) of a German pirated portal leading until the end of May 2013.”
Authorities secured the assets after one of the suspects voluntarily transferred the BTC to a digital wallet provided by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). The seizure is said to be the biggest of its kind in Germany to date.
In August 2020, the Dresden Public Prosecutor General’s Office said it was investigating the two main operators of the illegal streaming site Movie2k.to, which allegedly distributed more than 880,000 pirated films from 2008 to May 2013.
The duo is accused of using the profits generated from advertising fees and subscriptions to buy massive amounts of Bitcoin.
Patrick Pintaske, spokesman for the Dresden Public Prosecutor General’s Office, says the two men have not yet been charged.
Says Pintaske, according to the German Press Agency (DPA),
“If an indictment is brought, the investigation will be closed.”
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