Largest Dark Web Business Offline As Alleged User Detained in Germany

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The DarkMarket website was believed to be the world’s first illicit internet auction.

A 34-year-old Australian man suspected of running the world’s largest dark web market has been detained by German officials near the Danish border.

According to a release from Europol on Wednesday, the DarkMarket site was taken offline on Monday after a survey by German investigators with the help of Europol and seven other nations.

The illicit platform had handled more than 320,000 sales, had close to 500,000 visitors and more than 2,400 vendors. More than EUR 140 million (about US$170 million) in Bitcoin (BTC,-3.94 per cent) and Monero (XMR,-2.26 per cent) had changed hands on the platform.

Several drugs, forged or stolen credit cards, anonymous SIM cards and malware make up some of the items for sale on site.

More than 20 computers have been confiscated in Moldova and Ukraine as part of the operation. According to the ABC News report, the police said that the closing of DarkMarket was the result of a 2019 investigation into a server housed in a former NATO bunker found in south-west Germany. Other illicit pages, like DarkMarket, were found to be hosted at one point.

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Authorities from the U.S., Australia, the U.K., Denmark, Switzerland, Ukraine and Moldova have participated in this month-long process.

The Australian operator, who has not been identified, is being held in detention on charges pending by a judge’s order and has yet to give evidence to investigators.


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