Cybersecurity company Group-IB, which for several years has investigated hundreds of pirate sites and their connections to organized crime, is currently in the midst of a huge scandal in Russia. Company founder Ilya Sachkov was arrested by local security services this week under suspicion of treason and working with foreign intelligence services.
In early 2019, the company was the first to report in detail on so-called ‘pirate CDNs’, specialist content delivery systems that service huge numbers of pirate streaming sites with tens of thousands of movies and TV shows plus supporting artwork and descriptions.
Later that year, Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN, the Motion Picture Association (MPA), and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, took legal action against several of the operations listed in Group-IB’s reports. These included Moonwalk, a CDN suspected of supplying up to 80% of known Russian streaming portals.
Now, however, Group-IB – which is a partner of both INTERPOL and Europol – has serious legal troubles of its own.
Law Enforcement Search Group-IB’s Offices in Russia
According to a statement issued by Group-IB, on Tuesday afternoon Russian law enforcement officers searched its Moscow office and left the same day. At the time the company said that the reasons for the search were unclear but reassured customers and partners that everything was operating as usual.
“The decentralized infrastructure of Group-IB allows us to keep our customer’s data safe, maintain business operations and work without interruption across our offices in Russia and around the world,” the company said.
With Group-IB’s top management and lawyers assessing the situation, the company remained quiet. However, in a fresh statement published Wednesday, Group-IB was able to supply additional information.
Founder and CEO of Group-IB Arrested
Group-IB announced that its lawyers were examining information provided by Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court relating to company founder Ilya Sachkov, who was reportedly arrested on Tuesday as part of the raids. A TASS news agency source reveals that the businessman was arrested under suspicion of compromising national security.
“The Lefortovo District Court of Moscow ruled on September 28 to choose custody for a term until November 27 as a measure of restraint for Ilya K. Sachkov suspected of committing a crime stipulated under Article 275 of Russia’s Criminal Code (‘High treason’),” the source said.
Sachkov Reportedly Denies Wrongdoing
Sachkov’s case files are reportedly marked as ‘classified’ but according to a security agency source quoted by TASS, the 35-year-old denies wrongdoing.
“He does not admit the guilt of high treason, which inflicted reputational and national harm to Russia’s interests, or that he cooperated with intelligence services of foreign states,” the source said.
High treason carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison but Group-IB says it is “confident in the innocence” of its CEO and “his business integrity”.
TorrentFreak requested additional information from Group-IB but the company declined to comment beyond its earlier statements.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.