Australian man held in German darknet bust

Michael Bauer
·1-min read

German investigators have detained the alleged operator of DarkMarket, said to be the largest illegal online marketplace in the world, prosecutors in the city of Koblenz say.

DarkMarket was shut down on Monday and its servers, located in Ukraine and Moldova, were taken off the internet, prosecutors said.

The alleged operator, a 34-year-old Australian man, was detained near the German-Danish border and remanded in custody.

"Until its closure, DarkMarket was probably the largest marketplace worldwide on the darknet, with almost 500,000 users and more than 2400 sellers," prosecutors said.

More than 320,000 transactions were conducted via the website including the sale of drugs, counterfeit money, stolen or falsified credit cards, anonymous SIM cards and malware.

The transactions were reportedly worth a total of 4,650 bitcoin and 12,800 monero - two cryptocurrencies - for an equivalent of more than 140 million euros ($A221 million).

The investigation was led by local German investigators with the participation of foreign authorities, including the FBI and Europol.