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German Police Shutdown World’s Largest Illegal Online Marketplace

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – German investigators have shut down what they said was the world’s largest illegal marketplace on the Darknet, selling illicit goods to some 17 million registered customers.

Computer servers in Germany and bitcoins with a total value of 23 million euros (25 million dollars) were seized during a series of raids against the platform named Hydra Market.

Police said on Tuesday, without revealing where the operations took place.

Those behind the website were suspected of money laundering among other crimes. Investigations into the platform started in August 2021, with the involvement of several U.S. agencies.

The Russian-language platform had been accessible via the encrypted Tor network – which hides a user’s location – since at least 2015.

The trade was mainly in illegal narcotics, but also involved stolen data, forged documents and digital services.

There was no current link to the war in Ukraine, said Sebastian Zwiebel, press spokesman for the Frankfurt internet crime bureau.

About 17 million customer accounts and more than 19,000 seller accounts were registered on the platform.

The darknet was a hidden part of the internet that could only be accessed via certain software and was not found by the usual search engines.

Zwiebel said that in 2020, sales at the site amounted to at least 1.23 billion euros, making Hydra Market the illegal marketplace with the highest turnover in the world.

The international search for the operators and administrators was ongoing their identity was not yet known, Zwiebel said.

“Therefore, the investigations are far from being concluded,’’ he said.


Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=75431

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