THE National Police have busted one of the largest illegal distributors of internet based television (IPTV) in Europe.
The joint operation, which involved Europol, Eurojust and the Office of the Special Prosecutor against Computer Crime, has resulted in the arrest of eight people in Spain and Bulgaria.
The defendants were responsible for the illegal distribution of over 1,000 channels through two Internet Service Providers (ISP).
The investigation began after a representative of the English Premier League accused a Danish citizen based in Spain of illegally providing customers with football matches from services including Sky and BT Sport.
It is alleged that the man owns one of the biggest ISPs in Malaga, through which he encrypted a television signal which he distributed to thousands of customers throughout the EU.
Investigators discovered the second ISP, owned by the Dane and his criminal organisation, in the Bulgarian city of Silistra. This signal provided even more coverage for the illegal IPTV and was continuously connected to the ISP in Malaga.
Both of these Internet service providers followed the same approach. They were legally established companies that took advantage of their coverage to carry out the crime, and enjoyed great prestige in the world of illegal television.
During 12 simultaneous raids on buildings in Spain and Bulgaria, investigators disconnected and seized the ISPs involved in the operation, cutting off all access to illegal platforms.