Two of the three main defendants in the FTPWelt trial, which opened this week at the District Court of Mühlhausen in Germany, have admitted that they offered bootleg software, games and movies through a high speed download service Ftpwelt.com.
The third suspect, lawyer Bernhard Syndikus, denied any wrongdoing.
In 2004 the police arrested Syndikus along with two brothers from Thuringia in one of the biggest alleged cases of Internet piracy and illegal copying ever discovered. According to the police the men grossed over €1m.
The state prosecutor's office of Mühlhausen in Germany also started criminal proceedings against the 15,000 users who, according to the German society for the pursuit of copyright infringements, knowingly paid for illegal content on the internet.
The arrest of lawyer Bernhard Syndikus, who has in the past defended companies dealing with premium internet diallers, created quite a stir in Germany. Syndikus was responsible for bookkeeping and finance at the warez operation. According to German reports almost all the funds of the warez site were channeled through an offshore company Internet Payment Systems Ltd, registered on the Caribbean island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and ended up in a small eastern German town, Breitungen. Although Syndikus admitted he ordered the server for the brothers, he did not know what kind of a service would be provided.
The two brothers can now expect a maximum suspended prison sentence of 18 to 24 months. The trial is scheduled to continue on February 21.®