Six Bitcoin Mines Related to Criminal Ring Seized by Spanish Police

Spanish police have seized six bitcoin mines that were allegedly in use by a criminal network involved in the illegal distribution of pay-TV channels in Spain.

A joint investigation by the Spanish National Police and Tax Authorities with the support of Europol and local German police saw the crackdown of a criminal network making proceeds from the illegal distribution of pay-TV channels in Spain, Reuters reported.

The bitcoin mines were put together to launder the proceeds of the illegal pay-TV distribution scheme, allegedly. Spanish police also revealed that the mining operation was stealing electricity to keep the hardware running.

So far, a total of 78.3 bitcoins have been seized as a result of the operation, Europol revealed in a media release today. The agency also posted a picture of what is likely to be a seized mining center.

Seized hardware from bitcoin mine. Pic credit: Europol

Seized hardware from bitcoin mine. Pic credit: Europol

“This operation shows that these types of crimes are not left unpunished,” stated Michael Rauschenbach, head of Serious and Organized Crime at Europol.

30 suspects have been arrested in Spain, in a simultaneous coordinated raid across 7 cities in Spain on May 18, 2016. 38 houses were searched in cities including Barcelona, Spain, and Valencia, police revealed.

Dubbed Operation FAKE, the seizures include: nearly 50,000 pirated decoders – imported from China with the firmware tweaked to decrypt paid-TV channels for free; 183,000 Euros, 10 luxury vehicles, a counterfeit luxury car, IT equipment and even a private plane.

Europol revealed that the group used IPTV (Internet Protocol television) technology to offer over 1,600 TV channels, illegally, from different countries. The group also used servers spread across various countries in Europe. Germany is notable for being a country hosting one such server to take it down upon the request of Spanish authorities involved in the investigation.

Featured image from Shutterstock.