Dreamhack Organizer Arrested in Torrent Site Crackdown

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Earlier this month Swedish police took down Rarat.org, one of the largest private torrent trackers in the country. With help from PayPal the authorities were able to identity and arrest the prime target, who also happens to be an organizer of the upcoming winter edition of Dreamhack.

raratWhile Rarat.org is relatively unknown in most countries, it gained local fame in Sweden as one of the top private trackers.

This ended abruptly a few weeks ago when the site’s homepage was replaced with a worrying message, indicating the site’s operators were in trouble.

“The week Rarat was subject to a search, seizure, and arrest. This follows a 2013 complaint from a film company that tracked down our PayPal payments. Damages in the millions of krona are feared. The site will now be closed.”

This weekend, Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén, who represents several copyright holders, informed DN that Nordisk Film, SF, and Disney filed a criminal complaint back in 2013.

Initially, there wasn’t much progress in the case. However, a breakthrough came when PayPal, with help from Rights Alliance, identified the person who received Rarat’s donations.

With this information in hand a special unit of Sweden’s Department of National Police Operations, NOA, managed track down one of the alleged operators of the torrent site.

Interestingly, this prime suspect is also one of the organizers of the winter edition of Dreamhack, the largest computer festival in the world. The upcoming Dreamhack event, which takes place in Jönköping, is expected to draw 50,000 computer and gaming fanatics.

Earlier this month the Dreamhack organizer was arrested and taken in for questioning on suspicion of copyright infringement. In addition, several computers were seized as evidence during a house search.

“The investigation is still at an early stage, and there could be more people involved. We will now carry out a cyber forensic investigation. The suspect has been released pending a possible prosecution,” a representative of Stockholm’s Public Prosecution Office told DN.

The alleged torrent site operator denies his involvement with the site but has been put on leave from work by Dreamhack, pending the investigation.

“I’m not worried. The police have the wrong person,” the man commented, noting that the Rarat site shut down while the police were interrogating him.

Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén says that the complaint lists five films. As a result, the total scale of the damages could reach 10 million Swedish krona, which is well over a million dollars.


Header photo via Dreamhack.


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