Dark web child abuse: Administrator of DarkScandals arrested in the Netherlands

12 March 2020
Press Release
Press Release/News

This News/Press release is about Child Sexual Exploitation

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Website taken down and splash paged published by the Dutch Police and US Authorities. The site had more than 2,000 videos and images and advertised that it offered “real blackmail, rape and forced videos of girls all around the world.”

In an international case, the Dutch Police (Politie), the Dutch Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD), Dutch National Prosecutor’s office (Openbaar Ministerie), US authorities (Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Justice), the German Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt) and Europol cooperated in an operation that led to the arrest of the administrator, and the takedown of the website DarkScandals. This site, available on both the dark web and clear web, featured violent rape videos and child abuse material. 

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) supported the investigation with analysis, information exchange and by providing technical expertise. Europol set up the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in 2013 to strengthen the law enforcement response to cybercrime in the EU and thus to help protect European citizens, businesses and governments from online crime. Since its establishment, EC3 has made a significant contribution to the fight against cybercrime.

On 9 March, the Dutch Police arrested the administrator of the website in his home in Barendrecht, the Netherlands for the possession and distribution of child abuse material. The Dutch National Prosecutor's Office of the Public Prosecution Service in the Netherlands (OM) and the Child Pornography and Child Sex Tourism team of the Police of The Hague had received intelligence from Europol and investigating authorities in the United States of America, to investigate and prosecute the individual and to take the DarkScandals website offline.

DarkScandals hosted and distributed videos and images featuring non-consensual and violent sexual abuse. DarkScandals began operating about 2012 and boasted over 2,000 videos and images and advertised that it offered “real blackmail, rape and forced videos of girls all around the world.”  DarkScandals offered users two ways to access this illicit and obscene content, which was delivered in “packs” via email for customers to download.  Users could either pay for the video packs using cryptocurrency, or upload new videos to add to the content of the DarkScandals sites.  Specific rules for the video uploads to the sites included “real rape/forced” content, and stated a preference for “own made material.”  The site specifically forbade “fake, amateur…or acted movies,” rejecting content if it did not portray real sexual violence.  The arrested administrator allegedly received almost 2 million dollars from selling this obscene and illicit content.

In addition to the arrest in the Netherlands, the administrator of DarkScandals was also indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia, USA for his operation of DarkScandals. The Dutch national was charged with various counts of Distribution of Child Pornography, Production and Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution, Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter, and Laundering of Monetary Instruments.