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Dark web ‘Cyberbunker’trial breaks new ground
A Cold War bunker in a tiny German town housed darknet internet servers that facilitated illegal online activity. The group allegedly operating the servers are on trial — but are they accountable for 250,000 crimes?
Germany’s largest-ever cybercrime trial began this week amid much media fanfare at the district court in the city of Trier. The courtroom was packed. Defendants and their lawyers were wearing face masks and separated by plastic screens.
On the initial day the judge took two hours to see out the charges. On the second, three of the eight defendants received the ability to inform their life stories.
The eight people — four Dutch, three German and one Bulgarian — worked at the Cyberbunker data center at a disused military bunker in the pretty village of Traben-Trarbach, northwest of Trier.
They’re now charged with aiding and abetting criminals in some 249,000 illegal online transactions involving drugs, contract killings, money laundering and images of child abuse worth an incredible number of euros.
In September 2019, a major police operation that had been in the works for half ten years raided the bunker and closed it down. Key members of the group were arrested.
The alleged ringleader of the operation, 60-year-old Dutchman Johan X.*, remained impassive and silent through the entire first days of questioning, hearing the testimony of the very first three defendants.
Dutchman Michiel R.* who worked as a “manager” at the bunker, summed up his checkered job history and gave a tearful description of his close relationship with his mother. Jaqueline B.*, darkode market – http://www.computers.sblinks.net/out/andragreena%D8%8C-%D9%86%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%B3%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A2%DA%AF%D9%87%DB%8C-%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86/ a German who acted as a “bookkeeper” for the operation, spoke of her childhood in Cameroon growing up while the daughter of a poor farmer. A 21-year old German IT expert who spent per year employed in technical support described his solitary life and history of depression.
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