Pirate Bay Co-Founder Warg is Sentenced to Two Years in the Brig
June 20, 2013 2:53 PM
Computer specialist was found guilty of hacking crimes and illegal online money transfers
The first leg of
co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg's trial tour wrapped up this week in Sweden.
I. Cambodia Ships Mr. Warg Home to Stand Trial After Generous "Grant"
A Swedish court
Mr. Warg, 28, guilty of
stealing client information
from Swedish tax authorities (via contractor Logica Ltd. (
)) and Nordea Bank AB (
). In what the prosecution dubbed the "biggest investigation into data intrusion ever performed in Sweden", the charges against Mr. Warg and three other Swedes alleged that they conspired to hack into mainframes from International Business Machines Inc. (
) at these businesses. In the case of Nordea Bank, they allegedly then transferred money out of accounts, which they tried to disguise via a series of online money transfer.
The group allegedly successfully transferred 24.2k Danish Crowns ($4,290 USD) and were in the process of transferring a much larger sum -- €683k ($902k USD) -- when their efforts were disrupted.
Technical details of the hacks or the methods used in the money transfers have not been widely publicized.
Gotffrid Warg was sentenced to two years in prison for cyberfraud. [Image Source: Reuters]
Until last August, Mr. Warg had been holed up in the Asian nation of Cambodia, which typically does not extradite suspects. He was attempting to escape
a one-year sentence that authorities in Sweden had handed down
for his role in facilitating copyright infringement at
The Pirate Bay
, the world's largest BitTorrent site, which he co-founded (along with Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde) back in 2003.
But the pressure to extradite him intensified when Swedish authorities convinced Cambodian officials to seize Mr. Warg's computer and they allegedly found evidence of the bank fraud scheme on it.
an allegedly unrelated 400 million kronor (~$59M USD at the time) grant to Cambodia for "democratic development, human rights, education, and climate change" which was approved Sept. 5. That same week Cambodia shipped Mr. Warg -- who had been arrested the month before -- back to his home nation.
II. More Charges to Come in Denmark
In Sweden prosecutors scored a prison sentence for Mr. Warg on the hacking offenses. Mr. Warg tried to claim that his computer had been compromised and used to perform the attacks without his knowledge. However, the prosecution used seized chat logs from his machine to establish that he indeed knew about and participated in the cybercrime scheme.
In the U.S. these types of crimes could easily put someone in federal prison for 20 or 30 years, however the "harsh" sentence handed down by the Swedish court only calls for two years in prison (for a total of possibly three total years in prison, with
The Pirate Bay
sentence included). One of his accomplices, a 36-year-old who also stood trial, got off even easier -- with probation.
Mr. Warg will next stand trial in Denmark. [Image Source: 123rf]
The bad news for Mr. Warg, though, is that authorities have decided to allow him to be extradited once more for a second leg of his trial tour -- this time in Denmark. In Denmark he faces hacking into Computer Sciences Corp. (
) owned mainframes used in tax contract work for the Danish government. These hacks were allegedly involved in a fraud scheme similar to the Swedish one.
The case should have little impact on
The Pirate Bay
, which is currently registered Sint Maarten, a tiny Dutch island in the Caribbean. It is reportedly hosted, in part,
in Spain and Norway
Aside from his controversial piracy support and alleged cybercriminal efforts, Mr. Warg also had one other major internet controversy. In 2004 he launched a site dubbed
Americas Dumbest Soldiers
, which for some time kept track of U.S. soldiers killed in the Iraq War, showing their picture and listing their method of death, as available. The site encouraged visitors to rate "how dumb" the soldiers' various causes of death were. British Telecom Group Plc (
) was eventually convinced to take down the offensive site.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
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