• OiNK Raid Cost UK Taxpayers $45,347 USD

    Failed “Operation Ark Royal” that charged the BitTorrent tracker site’s admin Alan Ellis with “conspiracy to defraud” rang up more than £29,000 ($45,347USD) in expenses. Cleveland Police note that the amount also covered the cost of investigating 4 uploaders to the site who pled guilty of lesser charges.

    It’s been more than three years since the famed music-oriented BitTorrent tracker site OiNK was taken down in an international Interpol-coordinated raid conducted at the behest of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), and details of what it cost UK taxpayers have finally emerged.
    According to The Register, the effort, code-named “Operation Ark Royal” in the UK, cost “at least £29,000 ($45,347USD), and probably much more.”
    Requests to release information on the amount was apparently “twice refused” by Cleveland Police with the explanation that “disclosure could undermine any ongoing and future investigations and cause potential damage to the criminal justice process.”
    It was only after the help of the Information Commissioner’s Office that the figures were released.

    The amounts are as follows:

    • More than £7,800 spent on police overtime
    • More than £15,200 on forensics
    • More than £4,300 on travel and subsistence for investigators

    Cleveland Police emphasized that the amounts also inlcude the cost of prosecuting 4 uploaders to the site who pled guilty of lesser charges.
    The main case against the site’s admin, Alan Ellis, resulted in an acquittal this past January. After the initial raid authorities spent a lengthy period of time trying to figure out how and with what to charge him with, extending his bail more than 4 times until it finally settled on “conspiracy to defraud” last September, well past the initial deadline of December 21st, 2007.
    Prosecutors dropped charges against a fifth uploader several months after Ellis was found innocent of the charges.
    The irony of it all is that tens of thousands of dollars later there are no less than two BitTorrent tracker sites that have appeared in its place – Waffles.fm and What.cd – and music piracy continues unabated.

    Too bad the BPI and IFPI can’t be forced to compensate taxpayers for the failed endeavor.

    Source: Zeropaid
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. risys's Avatar
      risys -
      what a good site it was
    1. TheFoX's Avatar
      TheFoX -
      £29,000 wouldn't even cover the cost of one CID officer for one year. Remember that this case has been ongoing for three or four years, prior to and after the shutdown of OiNK. Don't forget the additional burden of cost in utilising the Dutch police to raid the server farm and confiscate the OiNK servers. Don't forget the loss of revenue from all the other businesses affected by the raid on the server farm, and their compensation.

      In fact, police man hours would be rigorously documented simply because they would need to demonstrate to a court how their time was spent investigating a case. Then you have the legal team. Barristers cost £400 upwards an hour, and the CPS would need to utilise quite a few to process this case. Then there is the cost of taking the case to court. I should imagine that the cost to the UK taxpayer would be in the region of £500,000 or more. Of course, no one would want to admit that they spent £500,000 on a case that they took to court and lost, hence the low figure of £27,000.

      Of course, police officers are employed regardless, so the Home Office might try to bury the cost within this framework, but then we have to realise that if these officers weren't investigating OiNK and Allan Ellis, then they would have been concentrating on other, more serious, crimes. Police only have a finite resource, so time spent investigating the OiNK case means that other cases would have had less resources applied to them. I wonder if someone somewhere has got away with a crime, because coppers were concentrating on OiNK and Ellis?