Europol, the law enforcement agency of the European Union, has supported a massive crackdown on illegal IPTV distributors in an operation executed by the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian General Directorate Combating Organised Crime (Главна Дирекция Борба с Организираната Престъпност) of the Ministry of Interior and led by the Bulgarian Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation. This has been Bulgaria’s third successful operation supported by Europol against illegal IPTV distributors in the past year.
The investigation targeted six companies active in the Bulgarian cities of Sofia and Varna and the region of Burgas. The national authorities carried out 17 house searches and seized a large number of documents and digital information. The examination of the evidence concluded that at least 30,000 people were subscribed to the illegally-distributed signal. One of the six companies involved was fined €650,000. Following this action, six pre-trial proceedings were opened.
Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordination Coalition (IPC3) supported the investigation on the ground by deploying two experts to Bulgaria. Europol officers exchanged information in real-time and cross-checked operational data gathered against Europol’s databases. The operational deployment, handled by Europol’s IPC3, was partly funded by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).