Illegal streaming service with over 2 million subscribers, 40,000 streaming channels and earning $17 million in profit shut down by Spanish police
This could be one of the biggest Police operations against pirate streaming websites ever conducted. The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) dismantled a large criminal network illegally operating a pirate streaming website to viewers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and laundering the criminal proceeds.
The unnamed streaming website reported hosted a whopping 40,000 TV channels like Netflix, Amazon and HBO, movies, documentaries, and other digital content via websites hosted on an international network of servers. The Spanish police were helped in this Europe-wide crackdown by Europol and Eurojust and also involved law enforcement authorities from Belgium, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States making it the biggest joint operation against any pirate website.
The above video is of the authorities searching one of the accused’s residence for evidence.
The Spanish police conducted the raids on 3 June 2020 with help from other European police authorities and raided 15 different houses. They have arrested 11 individuals (4 in Spain, 1 in Germany, 3 in Sweden, 3 in Denmark) and interrogated 16 others for their possible involvement in the pirate streaming website.
Police say that the mastermind of the pirate streaming website is also in custody. They have seized a whopping $5.5 million in the raids, including properties worth more than $2.5 million, four cars worth about half a million, luxury watches, cash, cryptocurrencies, and electronic equipment.
The Spanish police also took down 50 IP addresses and part of the online criminal infrastructure while 11 bank accounts totalling $1.9 million were also frozen.
The Europol said that the investigation into this particular pirate streaming website started in 2019 when the Spanish National Police detected several websites illegally distributing audio-visual content in different countries across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The police found out that the pirate website was streaming content via Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and managed from Spain.
The whopping scale of the streaming enterprise can be gauged from the fact that it illegally offered more than 40 000 TV channels, movies, documentaries, and other digital content via websites hosted on an international network of servers to subscribers. The streaming services were offered at dirt cheap prices to the subscribers making the pirate streaming website a viral success.
The streaming websites even had their own sophisticated technical assistance and quality control portal to assist subscribers in case of complaints and breakdowns. Police estimate that the pirate streaming website amassed nearly 2 million subscribers while the profit from this illegal operation was nearly $17 million.
The Spanish police and Europol are going through the evidence and suggest that more servers and IP addresses will be shut down in the days to come.