Artem Vaulin has gone missing and no one knows anything his whereabouts. The alleged founder of Kickass Torrents, one of the most popular piracy websites, has kept a low profile since 2016, when he eluded Polish authorities.
Kickass Torrents remains active although it faces constant blocking campaigns by Internet browsers and service providers, as authorities estimate the platform has illegally distributed over $1 billion USD worth of pirated movies, videogames, TV shows and other entertainment content.
According to US law enforcement agencies, Polish Police arrested and then released Vaulin in may 2017, whose defense argued health reasons.
Reportedly, the 34-year-old Ukrainian individual has left Poland in violation of his release conditions, and his current whereabouts are unknown. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said the extradition proceedings had ceased, although American authorities might start it again.
About KickassTorrents, it works as a directory for torrent files and links meant to facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing. The site received more than 50 million visitors, the DOJ said. Prosecutors pegged the site’s net worth at more than $54 million in 2016, estimating that its operators reaped between $12.5 million and $22.3 million annually.
Back in 2016, Vaulin was charged with criminal copyright infringement and was contesting his extradition to the US, so he decided to escape custody. A court agreed to release Vaulin into Warsaw in 2017 after his lawyers argued that he suffered from a spine-related disease. Several world known browsers including Safari, Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox all have intermittently blocked KAT, citing the risk of phishing or other malicious activity.
Multiple scamming groups have abused advertisements on KickassTorrents to spread malicious content that would redirect victims to malicious sites aiming to steal their confidential and financial data.
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