German Police Shut Down 'World's Largest Darknet Marketplace'

Breaking German Authorities Seize Dark Web Marketplace Using Bitcoin and Privacy Coins

Breaking German Authorities Seize Dark Web Marketplace Using Bitcoin and Privacy Coins

All sorts of drugs, forged money, stolen or forged credit cards, anonymous mobile phone SIM cards and malware were among the things offered for sale there, prosecutors allege.

They added that it processed more than 320,000 transactions, and Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrency to the value of more than 140 million euros ($219.8 million) were exchanged.

"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.

Officials have been mum on just who was arrested in connection with the darknet - referring to the man only as a 34-year-old "Australian national" who was apparently taken into custody by police somewhere near the German-Danish border, Barron's reports. It came as more than 20 servers the site used in Moldova and Ukraine were seized.

Law Enforcement knowing figures at that detail on the same day of the arrest indicates they may have analyzed the servers long before the arrest, possibly hacked the market in some way, or had an undercover staff member able to see counts in DarkMarket's support interface.

"The stored data will give investigators new leaders to further investigate moderators, sellers and buyers", Europol said in a statement Tuesday.

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The prime suspect was brought before a judge but declined to speak.

DarkMarket investigation involved multiple law enforcement agencies of different counties that included the likes of Germany, Denmark, the US, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Moldova, all of whom worked alongside Europol. He was placed in pre-trial detention.

Europol, Europe´s police agency, played a "coordinating role".

They said the investigation around DarkMarket originated after the discovery of a data processing centre run by organised criminals in a 5,000sqm former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bunker in south-west Germany.

The secret "darknet" network includes websites that can be accessed only with specific software or authorisations, ensuring anonymity for users.

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