Police forces across Europe carried out raids against illegal video streaming service platforms.
Coordinated by European Union agencies Europol and Eurojust, the raids took place in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Greece and Bulgaria, in a joint effort to curb an illegal market that threatens media groups’ subscription businesses such as pay-TV and video-on-demand.
The Italian postal police said it had located hubs across Europe that had pirated and illegally distributed pay-TV content through web-streaming platforms.
In the joint operation, Italian finance police said that they have shut down ‘Xtream Codes’, a platform with around 700,000 users at the time it was closed, as part of a Europe-wide operation targeting illegal TV and video streaming services.
The actions taken in this unique case in the European Union are the result of complex investigations conducted by prosecutors from Naples and Rome, with the support of judicial and police authorities from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, France, and the Netherlands, as well as Eurojust.
The damage caused by the criminal gang amounts to approximately €6.5 million, jeopardising the existence of many legal providers of pay-TV on the market. More than 200 servers were taken offline in Germany, France and the Netherlands, and over 150 PayPal accounts of the criminals were blocked. Eurojust, the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, set up its 100th coordination centre, since the first in 2011, to support on the spot the national authorities in swiftly disrupting the illicit activities. The operation led to the disruption of the signal for illegal pay-TV viewers in Europe, who benefitted from a subscription fee far below market value.