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Suspect behind Swedish streaming site arrested

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Sweden has seen a crackdown on illicit film sites. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT
07:53 CET+01:00
A 25-year-old suspect behind a popular Swedish film-streaming site which was shut down last summer after police raided the home of one of its Swedish creators has been arrested.

The man was arrested in Germany, reported the Swedish tabloid Expressen late on Monday, after Sweden issued a European arrest warrant, which has previously been kept secret, back in 2015.

Swefilmer was closed down by its administrator Ola Johansson on July 31st last year. He said in a YouTube clip at the time that poice had searched his home, seizing his computer and mobile phone and taking him into custody for 90 hours. He remains suspected of copyright infringement.

It was one of the most popular sites in Sweden to stream films for free without permission from production companies, sparking fierce criticism from the movie industry.

Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that another suspect, a 25-year-old Turkish citizen believed to be the main creator of Swefilmer, was seized by police on January 14th. However, news of his arrest had not been known in Sweden until Monday.

The daily reported that he is currently in police custody in the German city of Braunschweig, facing allegations of copyright infringement and aggravated money laundering.

According to the arrest warrant, obtained by Expressen, the man had set up advertising deals connected to the site, seeing around 14.6 million kronor transferred to his Turkish bank account between January 2013 and July 2015.

The newspaper said it had not managed to reach his lawyer, but it is understood he denies the claims.

In a survey published in 2015 entitled “Swedes and the internet”, 18 percent of Swedes admitted to sharing files illegally online. A total of 45 percent said they watched movies online every week.

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But the Nordic country has seen a major crackdown on illegal downloading and streaming sites in recent years, including the website The Pirate Bay, which allows users to skirt fees and share music, film and other files offered on the site.

The site's founders were sentenced to prison in 2009 for promoting copyright infringement with the website. The group was also ordered to pay a total of 46 million kronor ($6.9 million) in damages for copyright infringement to the music and movie industry.

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