As part of an investigation into pirated video streaming website movie2k.to, German police have seized more than $2 billion worth of Bitcoins from its alleged administrators. According to the German State Criminal Police Office, this is the largest seizure of cryptocurrencies by law enforcement authorities in the country (LKA).
As part of the investigation, 50,000 Bitcoins were seized from two men, aged 37 and 40, suspected of being administrators of a German pirate video portal that was shut down in 2013. In 2013, Bitcoin was significantly cheaper: at the beginning of the year the price was 13 US dollars, at the end it rose to 750 US dollars. Taking into account the exchange rate of $ 500 for one Bitcoin, 50,000 units of cryptocurrency gives a profit hidden from the state of about $ 25 million.
The suspects are being questioned for illegal commercial use of copyrighted works as well as money laundering – meaning they made money from pirated copies and hidden those profits. The portal ceased operations in 2013, and its alleged administrators may have hoped they would get off scot-free.
According to the investigators, from autumn 2008 to May 2013, they posted 880,000 illegally copied films, television series and other programs on the portal. This is not the first amount seized in the movie2k.to case. In 2020, a programmer on the portal handed over almost $27 million worth of Bitcoins to the police. Several German law enforcement agencies and the American FBI are involved in the investigation. According to the public prosecutor’s office, they are also looking for other suspects in the case.