An Australian accused of exploiting what prosecutors claim is the largest illegal darknet market has been arrested in Germany.
DarkMarket was shut down on Monday and its servers, located in Ukraine and Moldova, were taken off the internet, German prosecutors in the city of Koblenz said.
The alleged operator, a 34-year-old Australian, was arrested near the German-Danish border and remanded in custody.
“Until its closure, DarkMarket was probably the world’s largest darknet marketplace, with nearly 500,000 users and over 2,400 sellers,” prosecutors said.
They said a judge ordered the man to be taken into police custody ahead of possible charges and gave no information to investigators.
More than 320,000 transactions have been made through the website, including the sale of drugs, counterfeit tickets, stolen or forged credit cards, anonymous SIM cards and malware.
The transactions would have been worth a total of 4,650 bitcoins and 12,800 monero – two cryptocurrencies – for an equivalent of more than 140 million euros (A221 million dollars).
The investigation was carried out by local German investigators with the participation of foreign authorities, including the Australian police, the FBI and Europol.