Spanish police shut down a network of pirated streaming sites on Wednesday that illegally distributed content from 2,600 TV channels and 23,000 movies and series to around 500,000 users.
This law enforcement action took place in a joint operation that involved the Spanish police and EUROPOL, and resulted in the arrest of four operators in Malaga.
There were 95 resellers in Spain, Malta, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, and the UK also identified.
This pirated TV network used various websites to advertise and promote subscription-based streaming services and listed unlimited access to channels from different platforms.
The live streams from these platforms were then decoded with stolen or infiltrated accounts and passwords before they were re-broadcasted to the subscribers’ video player clients.
Afterwards, the resellers bought the subscription packages from the organization operators and resold them to thousands of local users to profit from the price difference.
“The profits obtained, which amounted to around three million Euros per year, were laundered by the organization, acquiring movable and immovable property in the province of Malaga and diverting funds through Spanish companies to bank accounts located in tax havens,” read the Spanish police’s announcement.
During their searches of the suspects’ locations, law enforcement found ten administration panels connected to 32 streaming servers spread across France, Spain, and the Netherlands that hosted pirated content.
The police then disconnected the administration panels, took the pirating platform offline, and seized computer equipment, 2,800 Euros in cash (over $2,900), and vehicles worth approximately 180,000 Euros (over $186,000).
Law enforcement will continue its investigation to find out if any more members of the pirating network are still operating in Spain or other countries.
According to the Spanish police’s announcement, the pirated streaming network was in operation since 2012 and set up new shell companies in order to consistently evade detection.