The alleged Owner of KickassTorrents Gets Arrested In Poland; KAT.CR and other Kickass Torrents Websites Offline
The world’s second most popular torrent website, Kickasstorrents, went offline after reports of alleged owner of a Kickass admin being arrested surfaced. The man allegedly presumed to be behind the world’s largest illegal torrent download site, KickassTorrents also known as KAT has been arrested in Poland. The Polish police arrested the 30-year-old Ukrainian at the request of the U.S. government and also seized funds from a Latvian bank account. In addition, a federal court in Chicago has ordered the seizure of several KAT domain names such as kickasstorrents.com, kastatic.com,
The Polish police arrested the 30-year-old Ukrainian at the request of the U.S. government and also seized funds from a Latvian bank account. Kickasstorrents was further dealth a death blow when a federal court in Chicago ordered the seizure of several KAT domain names such as kickasstorrents.com, kastatic.com, thekat.tv, kat.cr, kickass.to, kat.ph and kickass.cr.
Kat.cr had become the most-used torrent site after The Pirate Bay, with millions of unique visitors per day. However, the site has run into an important roadblock after U.S. authorities announced the arrest of the site’s alleged owner.
According to a Department of Justice press release, Artem Vaulin, of Ukraine was arrested on Wednesday in Poland. The DOJ will shortly seek his extradition to the United States.
The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago notes that KAT receives more than 50 million unique monthly visitors and is estimated to be the 69th most frequently visited website on the Internet. The complaint also states KAT operates in approximately 28 languages, has a net worth of more than $54 million, and generates an estimated $12.5 million to $22.3 million in annual advertising revenue.
“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials,” Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in the statement. “In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cyber criminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”
Prosecutors have formally charged Vaulin with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. Vaulin could face a prison sentence of up to five years for copyright infringement, if found guilty. For his involvement in money laundering, he can be sentenced to twenty years in prison.
The complaint further discloses that the feds posed as an advertiser, which revealed a bank account associated with the site.
It also shows that Apple handed over personal details of Vaulin after the investigator cross-referenced an IP-address used for an iTunes transaction with an IP-address that was used to login to KAT’s Facebook account.
“Records provided by Apple showed that email@example.com conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 22.214.171.124 on or about July 31, 2015. The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook,” the complaint reads.
KAT’s .com and .tv domains are expected to be seized soon by Verisign. For the main Kat.cr domain and several others, seizure warrants will be sent to the respective authorities under the MLAT treaty.
In a statement the U.S. DOJ announced that it will continue its battle against piracy, “Vaulin allegedly used the Internet to cause enormous harm to artists. Our cybercrimes unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago will continue to work with our law enforcement partners around the globe to identify, investigate and prosecute those who attempt to illegally profit from the innovation of others.”
At the time of writing, Kat.cr appears to offline while various proxies still appear to work. It is not known how the Kickasstorrents admin will emerge from the dual blows. Techworm is reaching out to Kickass and will be upadating the news as it goes.
Also read: Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites Of 2016