Spanish police arrests three card-sharing TV pirates
October 29, 2018 17.28 Europe/London By Robert Briel
The Guardia Civil of Alicante has arrested three British men aged 30, 46 and 63 years in Formentera del Segura, who operated an illegal card-sharing operation.
The men are accused of committing crimes including tax fraud, social security fraud, money laundering, misappropriation of property and belonging to a criminal gang.
The three detainees had set up a digital television platform through which they fraudulently facilitated channels that would normally have to be paid for to around 500 clients throughout the Vega Baja. They were selling the illegal services for EUR25 a month.
The operation was only discovered after the owner of a neighbouring farm (finca) discovered a huge satellite dish on his land that was impossible to remove without heavy machinery as it had been cemented into the ground. On his discovery, he alerted the Guardia Civil.
The Guardia investigation team then followed the satellite dish cable and noticed that it stopped inside the grounds of a disused warehouse. Once the identity of the person that rented the warehouse had been determined, officers began their surveillance operation to undercover what was really taking place there.
The illegal opration had been running for less than a year, making a profit of close to half a million euro. None of the earnings had been declared and no tax was paid, and the money was subsequently laundered via payments through the bank, always under EUR3,000 so as not to be detected by the Bank of Spain.
At the warehouse in Formentera de Segura and in a property in Rojales, Guardia Civil officers seized EUR40,000 worth of satellite dishes and receivers, decoders and modulators.
The head of the gang was arrested during one of his rare visits to Spain, and after passing before the judge, the three were released on bail.