Categories: News

KickassTorrents Seized – Site Owner Arrested

KickassTorrents, the world’s most popular torrent site, has been seized by the US Government and the site’s owner has been arrested. The website and its domains were ordered to be seized by the Chicago District Court and its owner, 30-year-old Ukrainian Artem Vaulin, was taken into police custody in Poland earlier this week, charged with copyright infringement and money laundering. The US has applied for Vaulin to be extradited.

Vaulin was captured via a sting operation, which saw US government agents pose as potential advertisers in order to obtain banking details related to the website. Using details gathered through their investigation – including Apple transactions related to a KickassTorrents (KAT) IP address – the feds were then able to identify Vaulin and seize the KAT-related domains and bank account.

“Records provided by Apple showed that tirm@me.com conducted an iTunes transaction using IP Address 109.86.226.203 on or about July 31, 2015,” the US District Court Criminal Complaint reads (via TorrentFreak). “The same IP Address was used on the same day to login into the KAT Facebook.”

According to Assistant Attorney General Caldwell, KAT is responsible for distributing pirated files worth in excess of a billion dollars.“

“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website,” Caldwell said, “responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials.”

“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 cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice,” Caldwell added.

At the time of writing, KickassTorrents has disappeared; even unofficial proxy URLs lead nowhere. It remains to be seen whether the site can stage a The Pirate Bay-esque comeback, but for now the chances seem slim, especially with legal action on-going.

Ashley Allen

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