Six years ago, Movie2K was one of the largest ‘pirate’ streaming sites on the Internet, with more traffic in Germany than Twitter or Amazon. During May 2013, the site suddenly disappeared but now, more than half a decade later, police say they have made three arrests. They include two men suspected of being former operators and another who allegedly laundered millions of euros.
Way back in 2013, Movie2K was not only one of the most-visited pirate sites, but also one of the most popular platforms on the entire Internet.
Offering all of the latest movies and TV shows in a convenient interface, during February that year Movie2K was the 240th most popular site in the world.
In Germany, where the site was particularly well-received, it was the 19th most popular site, period, pulling more traffic than Twitter, Amazon, Apple and PayPal. Understandably, the site attracted plenty of anti-piracy attention but suddenly, at the end of May 2013, the site shut down without warning.
In its wake appeared Movie4K, a site that bore more than a passing resemblance to its similarly-named predecessor, but it now appears that the authorities in Germany had not simply forgotten about Movie2K or bringing those behind it to justice.
According to the Attorney General’s Office in Dresden, two men aged 44 and 37 were arrested last Thursday in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria. The men are suspected former operators of Movie2K.
The men are reported to have distributed 880,000 copies of movies and TV shows between the fall of 2008 when Movie2K was founded and May 2013 when it closed down. They are also suspected of operating the streaming site Stream2K.com.
A spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office told SWR that the man from Rhineland-Palatinate had been living there for some time and that extensive evidence had been seized including computer equipment, cell phones, cash and documents.
Investigators claim that the suspects generated “several million euros” from advertising and other methods via Movie2K, which stepped in to become one of the world’s largest illegal streaming portals after the demise of Kino.to. That site was shut down following one of the most significant anti-piracy operations in history.
The Attorney General’s Office further revealed that a third man was arrested in Berlin last week. He is described as a 37-year-old real estate entrepreneur who was detained under suspicion of money laundering offenses.
It’s claimed that the individual worked with the former operators of Movie2K in the fall of 2013, managing some of the revenues generated by the men by making financial investments and obtaining real estate in Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin.
The numbers under discussion are significant, with the authorities claiming that the alleged money-launderer received more than 5.1 million euros from the other suspects through a Dutch mailbox company alone by mid-2016.
The home and business addresses of the defendants were searched with the support of officials of the Land Office of Criminal Investigation Berlin and the Criminal Investigation Police Bamberg.
As highlighted by Tarnkappe, the Prosecutor General’s Office was previously involved in the case brought against Kino.to. It’s suspected that there were links between that now-defunct site and the operators of Movie2K.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.