A CRIMINAL network based out of Malaga that illegally streamed TV channels and films to users around Europe has been dismantled in a joint operation between the National Police and Europol.

Officers swooped to arrest four individuals who were selling illegal subscription packages featuring over 2,600 television channels and 23,000 movies and series to half a million customers based in Spain, the United Kingdom, Malta, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece.

Two were arrested in Benahavis, one in Mijas with another under investigation, and a fourth was arrested in Benalmadena.

Teams are continuing to probe the network to sniff out more members of the network based in other countries.

The illegal piracy network laundered its €3million-a-year profits through buying and selling property and luxury vehicles, and funnelling the cash through Spanish businesses and out into secret bank accounts located in shady offshore tax havens controlled by the network masterminds.

crime piracy
The criminal network was bringing in €3million a year through selling illegal video content around Europe

During the raid, police turned up €2,800 in cash and two high-end vehicles valued at €180,000.

They also disconnected ten routers connected to 32 servers located in France, the Netherlands and Spain – where the illegal content was hosted.

The investigation began in 2020 thanks to a complaint filed by the heads of Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a coalition of companies whose purpose is to fight online piracy. 

Initial investigations identified a suspicious network that had been operating since 2012 to market and distribute massively fraudulent video content from various big-name premium subscription services.

Investigators found that the gang had set up a number of websites to advertise and promote the pirated subscription services, such as television channels and set-top boxes, which were accessed through a series of keys and passwords.

Resellers then bought these large packages of subscriptions and sold them on in the style of a pyramid scheme to their hundreds of thousands of customers.

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