Australia

Aussie arrested on suspicion of operating huge illegal dark web marketplace

An Australian citizen is being investigated after German prosecutors took down what they say is the world’s largest illegal marketplace on the dark web. The Central Criminal Investigation Department in the German city of Oldenburg arrested the Australian near the German-Danish border at the weekend, alleging he was the operator of DarkMarket.The site had almost…

An Australian citizen is being investigated after German prosecutors took down what they say is the world’s largest illegal marketplace on the dark web.

The Central Criminal Investigation Department in the German city of Oldenburg arrested the Australian near the German-Danish border at the weekend, alleging he was the operator of DarkMarket.

The site had almost 500,000 users and more than 2400 sellers. It processed more than 320,000 transactions, and Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrency to the value of more than €140 million euros ($220 million) were exchanged.

Users had access to drugs, forged money, stolen or forged credit cards, anonymous mobile phone SIM cards and malware, German prosecutors added.

A judge has ordered the Australian to be held in custody pending possible formal charges.

He hadn’t given any information to investigators, prosecutors said.

The site was taken offline following a large-scale international operation involving authorities from Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the USA.

The European Union agency for law enforcement, Europol, supported the take-down with specialist operational analysis and co-ordinated the cross-border effort of the countries involved.

More than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine were also shut down.

Investigators say the stored data will now give them new leads to further investigate dark web moderators, sellers and buyers.

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