Following a collaborative Investigation led by the Cypriot Police, with the support of the Cybercrime Division of the Greek police, the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), the Cybercrime unit of the Bulgarian police and Europol, as well as members of the Audiovisual Anti-*-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). The network is accused of illicitly distributing Greek, Cypriot and foreign pay TV subscriber channels. These services were allegedly offered through retailers throughout Europe and sold as a monthly illegal subscription for as little as EUR10 to EUR20.
The network made it possible to watch major European TV broadcasters, including Sky UK, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, the Greek Nova TV, the Dutch Ziggo Sport and Fox Sports, and many others.
Raids were conducted in Cyprus, Greece, the Netherlands, and Bulgaria during which 17 house searches took place, four suspects were arrested and servers used to provide illegal access to the channels were shut down. The investigation also uncovered installed machine sites that work with the central server to relay subscriber channels. Three people were arrested in Cyprus, one in Bulgaria, where 84 servers and 70 satellite receivers were also confiscated.
The raids involved cooperation with local police authorities and were supported by Europol and AAPA members Irdeto and Nova, with Irdeto providing technical and forensic expertise. Europol supported the involved countries since the start of the investigations with criminal analysis and coordination. It also provided on-the-spot support during the raids with operational tools such as the Europol mobile office.
These raids, conducted by local police authorities in collaboration with Europol and our members, show the importance that law enforcement is placing on the issue of IP infringement and represent another step forward in our mission to fight piracy,” said Sheila Cassells, Executive Director, AAPA.
“AAPA members like Irdeto and Nova are at the forefront of this fight against piracy and we will continue to take measures to support enforcement activities and push for effective and consistent legislation to aid this.”
“Streaming piracy is a growing problem affecting content owners, broadcasters and operators in Europe and across the world, and the enforcement activities conducted by organizations like Europol and the collaborative police organizations show the seriousness of this crime,” added Mark Mulready, Vice President – Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto and Vice President, AAPA.
“We are closely aligned with the mission of the AAPA and will continue to work closely with and support our customers, partners and law enforcement agencies to detect, analyze, investigate and counter all types of piracy.”
NOTE – There is an update to this story, as a 47-years old Greek man is identied as the mastermind of the operation.
(The pictures show the pirate server and equipment housed in Bulgaria)