U.K. police have raided and shut down an online voucher system allegedly used by Russian Web site allofmp3.com.
The system was an apparent attempt by the operators of the site to set up a way to charge consumers for music downloads after online payment companies, such as PayPal, and major credit card companies withdrew their U.K. and European payment options from the site last year.
Allofmp3.com claims that it pays record companies and artists for the downloads it sells, but major record companies say that the operators have no permission to sell the music.
The police action, which was taken earlier this month, followed a pan-European investigation conducted by the IFPI and the U.K.’s BPI. It led to the arrest of a 25 year-old man in Bow, London.
The individual was allegedly the U.K.-based European agent for allofmp3.com, facilitating the sale of digital downloads by advertising and selling vouchers through auction sites such as eBay and the allofmp3vouchers.co.uk.
That Web site has now been taken down from the Internet. The vouchers contained a code that allowed U.K. and European consumers to access and download music from allofmp3.com.
Charging £10 ($20) per voucher, the suspect was believed to be taking payment from European customers and transferring the cash into various offshore accounts operated by the site’s Russian owners.
The police officers seized computer equipment and paperwork for further investigation. The BPI reports that early indications suggest the pirate operation may have generated criminal proceeds for the Russian website running into the tens of thousands of pounds.
The raid was executed under legislation introduced in January to combat online fraud. It was the first time the new fraud legislation has been used in a copyright-related case.