A Ukrainian alleged to be the ringleader of the world's biggest online piracy site, Kickass Torrents, has been hit with US criminal charges, accused of distributing over $US1 billion worth of illegally copied films, music and other content.
The Justice Department unveiled a criminal complaint against Artem Vaulin, 30, of Kharkiv, Ukraine, who was arrested in Poland and is being sought by US authorities for copyright infringement, money laundering and other charges.
"Vaulin is charged with running today's most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $US1 billion of copyrighted materials," said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.
US officials will seek to extradite Vaulin to face charges filed in federal court in Chicago, which ordered the seizure of one bank account and seven domain names associated with the file-sharing website.
The website has moved its domains several times after being blocked in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Belgium and Malaysia, according to the complaint, and has relied on a network of computer servers located around the world, including in Chicago.