Pirate Bay's Warg, back in Sweden, busted on hacking charges

Gottfried Svartholm Warg, co-founder of the controversial file-sharing service, gets booted out of Cambodia and arrested as soon as he lands in Sweden -- on charges of hacking tax records.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read

Swedish police arrested Gottfried Svartholm Warg today as soon as he stepped off the plane from Cambodia.

Gottfried Svartholm Warg The Pirate Bay

Warg, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay, one of the best known file-sharing services on the Web, is accused of hacking into the servers of a company that supplies IT services for some of Sweden's tax services and making off with records belonging to thousands of people, according to Swedish news publication Aftonbladet.

Up until late last week, it was believed that Warg had been detained by police in Cambodia because of his conviction in Sweden on copyright charges. In 2009, Warg and fellow Pirate Bay co-founders Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij were found guilty of making 33 copyright-protected files available for downloading on Piratebay.org. They were eventually sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay a large fine. All The Pirate Bay defendants say they are innocent.

Warg failed to show up at a hearing on the matter and was believed to have fled the country. An international arrest warrant was issued. Yet, Aftonbladet writes that authorities in Sweden confirmed that Warg's arrest stemmed from the hacking allegations, which only became public last week.

Swedish media, citing unnamed sources, said that Warg was suspected by police of participating in a cyberattack on Logica, an IT firm that services Sweden's tax offices. Ola Salomonsson, Warg's attorney, told Aftonbladet that he had recently spoken with his client but had not been in contact since he landed in Sweden and wasn't aware of any new charges against his client.

Aftonbladet reported that police have arrested two other men from Sweden who are suspected of participating in the intrusion.

Warg is only the latest person connected to a file-sharing service or cloud locker to end up in the slammer. Kim DotCom, founder of cyberlocker service MegaUpload, was thrown into jail in January following a raid by New Zealand police on his home. He and six other associates are accused by the United States government of operating MegaUpload as a piracy enterprise and alleges that Dotcom laundered money and committed wire fraud.

He and the other six accused MegaUpload managers maintain their innocence and are fighting attempts to extradite them to the United States. Then, there's the case involving Richard O'Dwyer, the 24-year-old former operator of TVShack.net. U.S. officials have been trying to extradite O'Dwyer from Britain since last year.

TVShack.net didn't host any pirated materials on its servers but did link to unauthorized copies of movies and TV shows on the Web and earned advertising revenue as a result. According to reports, if convicted of copyright crimes in the United States, O'Dwyer could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.