With distribution and download site KickassTorrent taken down by federal authorities, one man has been singled out as its owner and operator. His name is Artem Vaulin. He is a 30-year-old man from Kharkiv, Ukraine, and authorities are now working on getting him extradited to the U.S.
KickassTorrent or KAT had been around since 2008. It is believed to be holding a compilation of copyrighted films, television programs, musical recordings, video games, electronic books, software and others, with a total collective value of more than $1 billion. The net worth of the site has been estimated to be over $54 million. It is believed that KAT has been making an estimated annual advertising revenue of $12.5 million to $22.3 million.
To keep the business going, the complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the Northern District of Illinois alleged that Vaulin operated KAT using a company he founded called Cryptoneat as cover. On LinkedIn, the company is said to have been founded this year with headquarters in Ukraine. The company is said to specialize in cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Moreover, it is described as a self-owned business. When it comes to company size, the employee number is described as “myself only.” In contrast, however, the company has 18 employees listed on LinkedIn.
On the other hand, Vaulin’s own LinkedIn profile says that he started Cryptoneat in 2009. His listed skills include project management, management, strategic planning and customer service.
Currently, Vaulin faces several charges, including one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. Upon his arrest, Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said “cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”