France A global platform for child criminals is dismantled

France: A global platform for child criminals is dismantled

A 64-year-old pensioner was charged and jailed on Friday on suspicion of creating and operating a global child crime platform on the dark web, which has, however, been dismantled, the Paris prosecutor's office said on Friday, confirming information from Le Parisien.

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“This is the first darknet platform that has been dismantled in this way with regard to child pornography in France,” the prosecution said.

This man, arrested on Tuesday in Strasbourg by the Office for Minors, was charged with “managing an online platform facilitating an illegal transaction, detaining, distributing, recording/fixing an image of a minor depicting a figure of child pornography and corruption.” , charged with a minor by a person brought into contact with the victim through an electronic communications network (known as “grooming”), the prosecution detailed.

He is also charged with “incestuous sexual assault of a minor by an adult of increasing age” and taken into custody.

The previously unknown suspect for this type of crime is accused of “not only exchanging illicit images, but also managing” this exchange platform between child criminals, the prosecution explained.

According to a source close to the investigation, “ten computers and 200 hard drives that now need to be used” were confiscated from the house of this pensioner, a computer specialist, the prosecutor’s office said.

The man's identification was thanks to “international cooperation, in particular with Europol, which made it possible to find out the true identity of the man who was hiding behind pseudonyms in exchange forums on Tor”, a network on the dark web.

An investigation has been launched in the cybercrime department of the Paris Public Prosecutor's Office.

The arrest of this man “also made it possible to uncover sexual assaults, violence against minors under the age of 15 and corruption of minors of which he is directly suspected and which were committed in his close environment,” according to the indictment.

He is also suspected of “contacting several teenage girls through electronic networks, particularly in Belgium and Germany, to offer them illegal exchanges,” he added.

The offense of “operating an online platform to facilitate an illegal transaction” was created by the law of January 24, 2023 and is punishable by a prison sentence of five years and a fine of 150,000 euros, the floor specified.

This new criminal offense “prevents an operator of a platform whose users remain anonymous or do not comply with the obligations of the Consumer Protection Act from being limited to knowingly allowing the sale of illegal products on that platform”.