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TPB Raking in Millions
It's all coming together - in Switzerland and Israel.
STOCKHOLM (SvD) -- The file sharing site The Pirate Bay are operating with revenues far exceeding previous estimates. The most expensive ads cost €20,000 for a single day.
And that's only for the Scandinavian market.
With ad revenues from the entire planet the bottom line is even more attractive. The money is channeled through a company in Switzerland sharing an address with another company specialising in tax planning.
The controversial file sharing site The Pirate Bay is far from the innocent hobby project cofounders Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm want people to think.
The police investigation of The Pirate Bay is about violations of copyright law because the file sharing site helps Internet users share files with copyright protected material.
The police will investigate how ad revenues are managed and if tax is paid. If the prosecutor can show that the site is being run commercially the suspects risk a harder punishment than if it's just a hobby project.
'The authors of the law spoke of one year in prison. The maximum penalty is two years', says prosecutor Håkan Roswall.
The past four months the Swedish company Eastpoint Media have sold ads for The Pirate Bay for an average of €60,000 per month, according to sales manager Luar Busó. The police raid on 31 May resulted in even more visitors to the site and prices for ads went up accordingly.
'The biggest ads today cost €20,000 and so far we've sold four', says Luar Busó.
Eastpoint sell ads for The Pirate Bay in the Scandinavian market. File sharing is most widespread in Sweden where many people have broadband. But The Pirate Bay runs in twenty five different languages and gets visitors from all corners of the planet.
In other countries other ads are shown. The total revenues are therefore much more than what Eastpoint arrange.
Eastpoint keep a bit of the revenues and then put the rest in an account with Random Media who in turn pay the money to the owners of The Pirate Bay. Random Media have a telephone number in Stockholm but an address in Geneva Switzerland. At the same address can be found Geneva Management Group (GMG). This latter company specialise in tax planning and estate management. They help corporations and private individuals move money to low tax countries with strict bank confidentiality where authorities can't control them.
GMG refuse to reveal their relationship with Random Media but they do offer a telephone number to Random Media's representative Daniel Oded. Oded works for Target Point in Tel Aviv Israel. In 1999 Oded received an international patent for a technical system for selling ads on the Internet.
When SvD rang Daniel Oded he refused to reveal what Random Media are and why the company have an address in Switzerland but a telephone number in Stockholm. And he refused to reveal where the ad revenues for The Pirate Bay disappear to.
'Who said I take care of the money? There are a lot of bit torrent sites. They all work the same way. Go after them instead', said Oded.
Gottfrid Svartholm refused to answer questions about these new revelations. Instead he referred SvD to cofounder Fredrik Neij who just happens to be out of the country and inaccessible.