Over the weekend, a German-led coordinated police operation successfully intercepted the operator of the world’s largest dark web marketplace, DarkMarket, and in parallel seized about 20 servers set up in two countries to operate systems predominantly used by criminals.
In the second phase, following a raid coordinated by Europol, involving German, Australian, Danish, Moldovan, Ukrainian, British and US investigative and law enforcement agencies, the authorities seek to identify the site’s moderators, vendors and their clients.
According to data released by the organization, DarkMarket had nearly half a million users when it shut down on Monday, and the illegal trade involved about 2,400 traders or dealers. The “customers” initiated about 320,000 transactions for a total of 4,650 bitcoin and 12,800 monero cryptocurrencies, translated at a daily exchange rate of roughly $ 140 million.
As part of the weekend raid, a unit of the German Central Investigation Bureau arrested a 34-year-old Australian man suspected of operating the site near the German-Danish border, who was remanded in custody after refusing to testify. Subsequently, on Monday, the servers operating the system were booked in Moldova and Ukraine.
The shutdown of DarkMarket was driven by threads discovered during an investigation into a web hosting provider called Cyberbunker – an otherwise de facto South German NATO bunker facility that had previously hosted servers from Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks, among others.
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