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Dark web ‘Cyberbunker’trial breaks new ground
A Cold War bunker in a small German town housed darknet internet servers that facilitated illegal online activity. The group allegedly operating the servers are on trial — but are they responsible 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 very first day the judge took two hours to read out the charges. On the second, three of the eight defendants received the chance to tell 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 faced with aiding and darkode market – https://bjlist.org/user/profile/124487 abetting criminals in a few 249,000 illegal online transactions involving drugs, contract killings, money laundering and images of child abuse worth millions of euros.
In September 2019, a significant police operation that were in the works for half a decade 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 throughout the 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 together with his mother. Jaqueline B.*, a German who acted as a “bookkeeper” for the operation, spoke of her childhood in Cameroon growing up since the daughter of a poor farmer. A 21-year old German IT expert who spent annually employed in tech support team described his solitary life and history of depression.
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