Artem Vaulin, the owner of Kickass Torrents website (KAT), was arrested in Warsaw at the Chopin airport in November 2016. He was charged with criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. Artem Vaulin founded KickAss Torrents in 2008 and since that date hundreds of millions files have been made available, including movies and TV programs. This resulted in entertainment industry losing billion dollars.
KAT, while it was still working, was the 69th web service in the world with over 50 million users monthly. KAT was at that time valued at over 54 million dollars and shared content in 28 languages. Advertising revenues were estimated at approximately USD 12-22 million annually.
– While escaping from justice, Vaulin used servers in many different countries around the world and moved domains as soon as the proceedings against him began. His arrest in Poland, however, proves that a cybercriminal can run away, but he can not hide from justice – said deputy prosecutor general – Leslie Caldwell.
Artem Vaulin was threatened with up to 5 years in prison for violation of intellectual property and up to 20 years for money laundering. In addition to the allegations, the federal court in Chicago issued an order to seize the Ukrainian bank account and seven domains that he utilized.
During his stay in Warsaw, Vaulin had been held at Warsaw-Bialoleka Investigative Detention Center. In that time government in Poland evaluated a US request for extradition. Vaulin was then exempted from prison on $108,000 bail and his passport was seized. An extradition process took almost one year and in the meantime, he was living in a rented apartment in capital of Poland with his wife and son.
Accessing KickAss Torrent is currently blocked, and all the respective domains are seized. (ns)