The alleged ringleader of one of the most popular illegal file-sharing sites has been arrested in Poland and charged in the United States.
Kickass Torrents (KAT) is a widely popular torrent website that currently serves as the go-to place for unofficial versions of movies, TV shows and other such. It has surpassed even the famous The Pirate Bay (TPB) to become the third most-used torrent site, but it may be in hot waters now with its purported leader charged with copyright infringement in the United States.
According to authorities, Kickass Torrents has illegally distributed copyrighted materials worth more than $1 billion, and Ukrainian national Artem Vaulin is reportedly behind the whole business.
Vaulin was arrested on Wednesday, July 20, in Poland and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is seeking to extradite him. The purported ringleader faces two counts of criminal copyright infringement, in addition to conspiracy charges related to money laundering and copyright, authorities revealed.
Furthermore, an order from the federal court of Chicago seeks to seize one of Vaulin's bank accounts and seven internet domain names belonging to him.
Ironically, the 30-year-old who presumably runs the illegal downloading site was arrested in Poland following a legal purchase on iTunes.
According to Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General, Vaulin is believed to have relied on various servers worldwide, moving his domains amid several civil lawsuits and seizures, trying to evade law enforcement. The culprit's arrest, however, proves that justice eventually catches up, says Caldwell.
To catch Vaulin, feds pretended to be an advertiser and the scheme led to a bank account tied to the site. After the authorities cross-checked an IP address used to login to KAT's Facebook account with an IP address used for the aforementioned iTunes purchase, Apple handed over Vaulin's personal details, Torrent Freak reports.
"KAT's .com and .tv domains are expected to be seized soon by Verisign. For the main Kat.cr domain and several others, seizure warrants will be sent to the respective authorities under the MLAT treaty," adds the publication.
KAT has yet to issue a statement or comment on the matter, but we'll keep you posted as soon as more information comes to light.
At the time of writing, kat.cr does not load although it keeps attempting to do so, while the KAT status page immediately returns an error message that "This site can't be reached. Kastatus.com refused to connect."