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Sunde was a fugitive after exhausting his appeals; he's the third defendant to serve time in the case

Peter "brokep" Sunde Kolmisoppi -- a cofounder of the world's largest filesharing site The Pirate Bay -- was reportedly arrested this week at a rule farm in Skåne, Sweden.
 
I. Caught
 
Skåne is located near Malmö, Sweden on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula.  Denmark sits across the sea from Malmö.  The city is one of Sweden's three major metropolitan areas.
 
Reportedly, Mr. Sunde -- who has been living as a protected fugitive in Germany during his appeals to various European Union courts -- was visiting relatives in Sweden, his home country and country of citizenship.  An elite unit of Swedish special police tasked with hunting fugitives stormed the farm.  A Polish police unit reportedly also assisted in the raid.
 
Prior to the raid, Mr. Sunde reportedly had made previous secretive visits to Sweden.  He was widely allowed to travel by EU officials in Germany and in other countries.

Peter Sunde
Peter "brokep" Sunde [Image Source: Expressen]

Mr. Sunde is wanted for "assisting [others in] copyright infringement", a crime he was convicted in Swedish court of back in April 2009.  Mr. Sunde was often viewed as the leader of The Pirate Bay and long served as its primary spokesperson.
 
Peter Althin, Mr. Sunde's lawyer, has suggested his client will likely agree to serve his eight-month sentence in Swedish prison rather than continue his failing efforts to fight it.  Following the appeal, Mr. Sunde had also submitted his case to the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR), who in 2012 declined to hear his case.  Earlier this month the Swedish Supreme Court -- the highest court in the nation -- rejected Mr. Sunde's request for an appeals hearing.  That rejection perhaps marked the exhaustion of Mr. Sunde's viable appeals routes in the case.
 
Since the verdict Mr. Sunde has largely devoted himself to legitimate ventures and has seen the least controversy of the defendants.  He cofounded micro-donations service Flattr with fellow Swede Linus Olsson; the service has since seen substantial traction internationally, including the U.S.

Flattr

Mr. Sunde and Mr. Olsson also collaborated with another friend -- Leif Högberg, a top Swedish privacy advocate -- to develop an encrypted messaging service named "Hemlis".  Hemlis is Swedish slang for "hemlighet", which means "secret".  Privacy is a sore spot for Mr. Sunde.  Swedish authorities were able to convict him, in part, from evidence from seized unencrypted emails.
 
II. The Trial and the Aftermath
 
Following 2008 raids by Swedish police at the behest of media industry corporations, which seized the servers of The Pirate Bay from hosting firm PRQ (co-owned by Mr. Sunde), Swedish authorities formally brought charges against the site's leadership in 2009.
 
The 2009 trial saw three cofounders of the pro-content piracy site charged, as well as the CEO of their primary internet service provider (ISP) who authorities alleged conspired with The Pirate Bay folks.  During the trial, the trio of site cofounders, and the CEO of their ISP were fined 32M Swedish kronor (SEK) (~$4.79M USD), and sentenced to a year in prison, or -- more likely -- house arrest, given Sweden's more liberal prison system.
 
The Pirate Bay
The Pirate Bay today remains one of the internet's largest sources of pirated materials.

One of the three judges in the case -- Judge Tomas Norström -- became one focal point of a subsequent appeal, when he was revealed to have worked for a copyright protection firm, which the defendants' lawyers argued in an appeal created a clear bias.  Likewise, the investigator in case was revealed to have gone to work for Warner Brothers (one of the plaintiffs) shortly after the investigation began in 2008.
 
After healing both sides argue their case in the appeal, in Nov. 2010 Sweden's national appeals court, The Svea Court of Appeal, delivered a mixed ruling.  The result was reduced sentences for the ISP CEO and two of the admins, but an increase in the fines pool to 46M SEK (~$6.88M USD).  The court largely sided with the prosecutors who argued the bias claims were a non-factor in the case.  The court wrote in its ruling (translated):

The Pirate Bay has facilitated illegal file sharing in a way that results in criminal liability for those who run the service.
 
Warg and Neij
Gottfrid Warg (left) and Hans Neij (right) during the "good old days" back in 2006.
[Image Source: Wired]

The arrest has been confirmed by Swedish authorities in a comment to Expressen, a major Swedish newspaper.  Expressen describes the police raiding party as "heavily armed", perhaps a bit of overkill for bringing a known leftist, pacifist into custody.
 
III. Carl Lundström -- The Pirate Bay's Controversial Wealthy Backer
 
Since that ruling, two of the defendants have served their time. Now it appears that Mr. Sunde will be the third.
 
In the wake of the verdict many of the defendants have suffered additional accusations as setbacks.  Under the glare of the public eye, their character has been carefully scrutinized.
 
Perhaps none of the backers has seen as much criticism as Carl Ulf Sture Lundström, 54, the convicted CEO of The Pirate Bay's ISP.  The wealthiest person charged in the case.  An heir of crisp bread producer Wasabröd, he took part of his inheritance and founded various telecom ventures, including Rix Telecom, the accused ISP of The Pirate Bay.

Carl Ludstrom
Carl Lundström has stoked debate among The Pirate Bay's supporters and critics due to his ties to Sweden's far right and Neo-Nazi parties. [Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

He became the first of the defendants to serve his sentence, following his loss at appeal.  The appeals court made the greatest reduction to his sentence, of any of the defendants, trimming it to just 4 months, which he served at home under house arrest.

In 2012 he filed for bankruptcy protections, after transferring much of his fortune to his wife.  He claimed he was unable to pay the fine and changed his citizenship to Switzerland, to the chagrin of Swedish prosecutors.

Despite now being a Swiss "citizen", Mr. currently lives south of Göteborg, Sweden where he has a home.  His wife and kids also live there.  Aside from the far right accusations, he's also been accused of dodging taxes, even before his Swiss move.  In 2010 he got in a spat with officials over his bank accounts in Liechenstein, which he was allegedly using for tax avoidance.  He ended up paying an additional 18.5M SEK for fiscal 2003-2007 [source].

IV. Warg Serves Hard Time

The other defendant who served his sentence was Per "anakata" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg.  Mr. Warg attempted to wait out the charges.  Sweden had a five-year statue of limitations.  And unlike the U.S. where fugitives are not considered eligible for the statute of limitations, in Sweden, in most case they are.  That meant that after Nov. 2015, any suspects at large would no longer be imprisoned, although they likely will be held responsible for their fines.
 
However, Mr. Warg only made it two years before being nabbed by authorities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and extradited.  Critics noted a suspiciously timed foreign aid payment from Sweden's government to the impoverished Cambodian state around the time of the arrest and extradition.  As he had medical issues at the time of the 2010 appeal (according to friends, he was struggling with drug addiction), he was not part of that appeal and hence was held accountable for the original full 1-year sentence.  Unlike his wealthier colleague, he has to serve his sentence in a prison -- the Mariefred prison in Mariefred.

Gottfrid WargGottfrid Warg has struggled with drug abuse and additional hacking accusations unrelated to his role with The Pirate Bay.  Friends have criticized his work as sloppy. [Image Source: Reuters]

To make matters worse for Mr. Warg, he was implicated and found guilty of gaining illicit access to a police database in Denmark.  The hack reportedly gave him access to a number of sensitive systems including a social security database, driver’s license database, and the shared IT system used in the Schengen zone.  It was unclear whether this information -- or related information from a bank hack Mr. Warg was tied to -- were used for any fraud attempts.
 
In June 2013, Mr. Warg was sentenced to two years in Danish prison.  He is scheduled to be released sometime in early 2016.  

Mr. Warg -- while still friends with his codefendants -- has also been criticized by them for his lax security, which aided in their conviction.  Comments Mr. Neij in the documentary:

All the e-mails in the Pirate Bay trial come from Anakata [Svartholm Warg], the security guy. Anakata the doesn’t-know-how-to-fucking-encrypt-his-computer! Even I and Peter encrypted our e-mails. But Gottfrid didn’t! Gottfrid is the stupidest person in the entire history of IT.

The admin has been closely tied to Wikileaks, having helped produce the now infamous "Collateral Murder" documentary.

V. Catch me if You Can

The only admin other than Mr. Sunde to remain at large is Mr. Neij, 36.  Hans Neij served as The Pirate Bay's tracker developer and cofounder, and perhaps was its most visible face aside from Mr. Sunde.

Like his other codefendants, he was sentenced to 1 year in prison and fines.  Today he's still on the run, and still talking.  He's currently a fugitive living in Laos, where he in 2013 wed Chandaly "Lee" Souksada, a citizen of Laos.

In the documentary he explained his reason for refusing to return home and serve his time arguing:

I can serve a prison sentence. But why do it if I don’t have to?  The statute of limitations is five years. They can’t issue an international warrant of arrest. I can sit here and jerk off for five years. And I will.

Neij and Sunde
Mr. Neij (left) remains at large.  He is seen here with Mr. Sunde (right) in Laos, where he is currently living as a fugitive. [Image Source TBP:AFK via Ars Technica]

Mr. Neij politically aligns closer to Mr. Lundström, although he's not as far right as the mogul.  In addition to his assesments of Mr. Lundström and Mr. Warg, he took aim at Mr. Sunde, commenting:

Brokep (Peter Sunde) is a fucking vegetarian leftist b**ch-a** b**tard.  [Even if he's the face of TBP] he’s still a b**ch. He does it because of ideological p**sy-inflicted instincts. He needs to look himself in the a** and take his own life in his hands.

Mr. Sunde fired back:

If he’s had a beer or two, he becomes the most annoying person on Earth.  The problem is he take[s] a couple of beers at least everyday.

Still, despite their differences, Mr. Sunde was in attendance at Mr. Neij's wedding in Laos, prior to his arrest.

Sources: Expressen, Torrent Freak





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