German Police Shut Down World's Largest Darknet Marketplace

  • German Police Shut Down World's Largest Darknet Marketplace

German Police Shut Down World's Largest Darknet Marketplace

German prosecutors in the cities of Koblenz and Oldenburg said on Tuesday that they had shut down what was "probably the largest illegal marketplace on the Darknet" called DarkMarket and arrested the man believed to operate it near Germany's border with Denmark. Authorities, led by German law enforcement, successfully co-opted the market's infrastructure, confiscating over 20 servers in Ukraine and Moldova, where the operation was apparently located.

Additionally, the marketplace allegedly allowed trade of narcotics and illegal items such as counterfeit money, stolen or counterfeit credit card details, anonymous SIM cards, and malware.

The report further alleged that a total of 320,000 transactions took place on the illegal market place resulting in more than 4650 bitcoin and 12,8000 Monero were exchanged between the customers and the platform.

German investigators were assisted in their months-long probe by U.S. authorities and by Australian, British, Danish, Swiss, Ukrainian and Moldovan police.

Authorities say the probe that uncovered DarkMarket involved a months-long worldwide law enforcement operation.

"Until its closure, DarkMarket was probably the largest marketplace worldwide on the darknet, with nearly 500,000 users and more than 2400 sellers", prosecutors said.

"Investigators expect to use the data saved there to launch new probes against the moderators, sellers and buyers of the marketplace", prosecutors said. The alleged operator faced a judge and has been put in pre-trial detention.

Prosecutors said the move against DarkMarket originated in an investigation of a data processing centre installed in a former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bunker in south-western Germany that hosted sites dealing in drugs and other illegal activities.

They have faced increased pressure from global law enforcement in recent months.

Some 121 suspects were arrested in the United States, followed by 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in Britain, three in Austria, and one in Sweden.