Illegal marketplace "DarkMarket" taken offline - Software

Ruben Fields
January 13, 2021

"The vendors on the marketplace mainly traded all kinds of drugs and sold counterfeit money, stolen or counterfeit credit card details, anonymous SIM cards and malware", the statement claims.

The vendors of the illegal marketplace were involved in almost €140 million worth of transactions including the transfer of 4,650 Bitcoin and 12,800 Monero (XMR).

German authorities have shut down the world's largest darknet marketplace in a joint operation supported by Europol, a law enforcement agency of the European Union.

Europol on Tuesday said it shut down DarkMarket, the world's largest online marketplace for illicit goods, as part of an worldwide operation involving Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the U.K.'s National Crime Agency (NCA), and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Prosecutors noted that DarkMarket had nearly 500,000 users and over 2,400 vendors at the time of the shutdown.

DarkMarket was shut down on Monday and its servers, located in Ukraine and Moldova, were taken off the internet, prosecutors said. Police said they apprehended a single suspect, a 34-year-old Australian man accused of operating the site, near the German-Danish border.

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They said the investigation around DarkMarket originated after the discovery of a data processing centre run by organised criminals in a 5,000sqm former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bunker in south-west Germany.

DarkMarket investigation involved multiple law enforcement agencies of different counties that included the likes of Germany, Denmark, the US, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Moldova, all of whom worked alongside Europol.

Europol, Europe´s police agency, played a "coordinating role". They have been on trial since last October in the German city of Trier.

The secret "darknet" network includes websites that can be accessed only with specific software or authorisations, ensuring anonymity for users.

While street dealing had been affected by restrictions during the height of the pandemic, it said consumers and dealers had been turning to online "darknet" markets, social media and home delivery.

Oldenburg police said the raid took place over the weekend. It's one of the many options that popped up in the wake of the closure of the Silk Road in 2013.

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