The founder of one of the best VPN deals on the market is facing up to five years in prison after being singled out as the main defendant in a fraud case in Greece.
Authorities are holding TorGuard CEO Ben Van Pelt personally responsible after an anonymous user attempted to make around €2,000 of online purchases with a stolen credit card.
As the Greek news site Dikastiko reported (opens in a new tab), the purchases made in December 2018 were never completed because the bank involved quickly realized something was wrong. However, a police investigation was later launched to find the mastermind behind the attempted fraud.
According to Alexis Anagnostaki, the lawyer who defended Van Pelt, the accusation is absurd and reveals the way cases are investigated in Greece. “In other words, instead of arresting the perpetrator who triggered a homicide, they blame the company that makes the gun,” he told the Greek newspaper.
Meanwhile, Van Pelt confirmed to TorrentFreak (opens in a new tab) that his company's transparency of ownership will not change, despite all the legal issues it currently faces.
"It's very frustrating to be falsely accused of something when there's a complete lack of factual evidence and a general misunderstanding of the technology involved," he said. "However, TorGuard will continue to operate transparently because trust is the cornerstone of our operations."
VPN providers increasingly in the crosshairs of court cases
With the continuous increase in cybercrimes, VPN services are becoming more and more popular because, in addition to protecting people's privacy and anonymity from Internet spies, these tools can also be misused to carry out criminal activities. Illegal on the web.
Also, most private VPN providers have strict no-logs policies on how they handle their users' data. This means that no information is ever stored, disclosed or shared. In an ongoing legal investigation, this could be problematic as authorities may not know exactly who committed the crime.
This is probably why some governments are trying to force VPN companies to store user information, as seen in the case of India's new data law.
At the same time, film companies also want VPN companies to register hackers. Many providers, including TorGuard, have recently been taken to court over hacking allegations, making CEOs and company founders legally responsible for what their users do online.
However, whether or not Van Pelt makes it out unscathed, the Greek fraud case against TorGuard is likely to set a precedent for the VPN industry.
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