Fate of CyberBunker Operators Sealed

~2 min read | Published on 2023-09-16, tagged Darkweb-MarketSentenced using 352 words.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe largely confirmed the ruling of the Trier regional court in the case against the eight operators of the CyberBunker.

The CyberBunker was a web-hosting services provider operated from a former NATO bunker in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It provided hosting to multiple dark web marketplaces including, Cannabis Road, Wall Street Market, and Flugsvamp 2.0.
On December 13, 2021, the Trier Regional Court issued prison sentences of between one year and five years and nine months against the operators of the CyberBunker after finding them guilty of participating in a criminal organization. The defendants were also ordered to forfeit funds ranging from approximately €9,000 to €900,000. The court acquitted the defendants of aiding and abetting in the crimes committed through the platforms hosted on their servers.
Following an appeal by both the eight defendants and the prosecution, the Federal Court of Justice reviewed the verdict and issued its ruling on September 12, 2023.
The court denied the defendants' demand for acquittal and upheld their conviction of participating in a criminal organization. The court said that there was sufficient evidence to prove that the defendants were members of a criminal organization that "committed particularly serious crimes."
The court also disagreed with the prosecution and upheld the defendants' acquittal in aiding and abetting in the more than 250,000 illicit transactions conducted through the dark web marketplaces hosted on the CyberBunker servers. The court said that having general knowledge of a crime is not enough to prove intent to assist in the illicit activity.
The only part of the ruling issued by the Trier Regional Court overturned was confiscation. The Federal Court of Justice reduced the amount to be forfeited by one of the defendants thanks to a calculation error.
The court also said the Trier Regional Court had failed to confiscate most of the equipment seized from the bunker. The court ordered the Trier regional court to hold a new confiscation hearing.
The investigators seized approximately 200 servers, documents, data carriers, phones, and an undisclosed amount of cash after executing search warrants at the bunker and other properties associated with the operation of CyberBunker in September 2019.