Police arrest BitTorrent tracker operators in Brisbane

Men charged with money laundering.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) yesterday arrested and charged two Brisbane men with money laundering offences linked to a BitTorrent tracker site. A $54,000 bank account belonging to one of the men was subsequently frozen.

The arrests took place after the AFP and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) executed a warrant to search the Brisbane home of the two men, seizing hardware and over 2 terabytes (TB) of data related to the tracker. Investigations had been conducted into the BitTorrent tracker involved and the two men in the months leading up to the arrest.

The tracker is yet to be named, but it is believed to have more than 400,000 international members and a VIP members section, which offered increased access to pirated material and costs members $10 per month. Site operators allegedly garnered up to $10,000 a month through VIP member fees and facilitated the sharing and distribution of over 10,000TB of movies and TV shows. It is believed the frozen bank account is linked to these activities.

The arrest was yesterday's second piracy-related raid, following a piracy ring bust in Sydney by NSW Police.

“This case clearly demonstrates how damaging P2P piracy can be — sucking money from the legitimate production and distribution of movies thereby discouraging creativity and destroying Australian businesses and jobs", said Neil Gane, director of operations for AFACT.

A spokesperson for AFACT told PC World Australia that the AFP is continuing to investigate several bank accounts linked to the matter, but at present no other charges had been applied.

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