Cyprus Mail

Remands renewed for illegal TV suspects

Larnaca court

THE Larnaca district court on Thursday renewed the remands of two men from Limassol, aged 48 and 52, in connection with the illegal streaming network Dreambox.

A third suspect, a 38-year-old man from Larnaca who was also arrested along with the other two last week, was released after his remand expired on Thursday following nine police raids during a coordinated operation in Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. The 38-year-old is expected to be charged at a later date for other offences.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the 52-year-old implicated the 48-year-old in the case and also told police names of other people involved.

During the remand hearing, investigators told the court that so far, they have taken 50 testimonies and another 100 are pending.

They argued that if the suspects’ remands were not renewed, they might influence witnesses and destroy evidence.

A fourth suspect, 42, was arrested last Friday in Larnaca in connection with the same case but was later released without being charged at the moment, pending the completion of police investigations.

The group had allegedly established a significant technical network of servers to broadcast more than 1,000 cable channels – including Nova, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports – to more than half a million subscribers in Europe.

The illegal network was discovered by Nova Greece and later verified by Cyta as a piracy network existing in all four countries.

Dreambox uses set-top boxes to receive online streaming services through internet connections instead of mainstream antennas or fibre-optic cables.

The providers illegally transmit pay-per-view services using sophisticated technology. In many cases, a providers or users may use Virtual Private Networks or VPNs to conceal their identities and locations while circumventing any geo-restrictions. It is illegal under the law on intellectual property crime in Europe.

The operation to uncover the ring was a cooperation of the Cypriot Police, the Cybercrime Division of the Greek police, the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), the Cybercrime unit of the Bulgarian police and Europol, as well as members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA).

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