Illegal marketplace "DarkMarket" taken offline - Software

German authorities accuse Australian man of running DarkMarket, the world's largest illegal online marketplace

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).

An online marketplace called "DarkMarket" that sold illegal drugs has been taken down in an operation led by German law enforcement agencies, European police agency Europol said on Tuesday.

The detained man, believed to be DarkMarket's operator, is a 34-year-old Australian national.

According to the official announcement by Europol, the illegal marketplace involved more than 500,000 users including 2,400 vendors.

Authorities say the probe that uncovered DarkMarket involved a months-long global law enforcement operation.

At current exchange rates, that represented turnover valued at $170 million. News of the arrest followed 20 servers that were being used on the DarkMarket in Ukraine and Moldova being seized.

The marketplace offered for sale "all kinds of drugs" as well as "counterfeit money, stolen and fake credit card data, anonymous SIM cards, malware and much more".

They are popular with criminals, as buyers and sellers are largely untraceable.

Europol, Europe´s police agency, played a "coordinating role".

Prosecutors said the move against DarkMarket originated in an investigation of a data processing centre installed in a former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bunker in south-western Germany that hosted sites dealing in drugs and other illegal activities. They have been on trial since last October in the German city of Trier. The sellers used Bitcoin and other privacy coins to transfer funds obtained by the trading of drugs.

German police raided the CyberBunker's headquarters in September 2019 in Traben-Trarbach, a small town close to the Luxembourg border.

DarkMarket was only viewable on the so-called "dark web", meaning that users needed to use the TOR encrypted web browser to access it.



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