After being named in a case in Greece as the prime suspect in fraud, the founder of one the most popular VPN offerings could face up to five years in prison.
After an anonymous user attempted to make online payments for EUR2,000 using a stolen credit card, authorities have held TorGuard CEO Ben Van Pelt personally responsible.
According to Greek news website Dikastiko (opens in new tab), December 2018 purchases were not completed because the bank involved quickly realised that something was wrong. A police investigation was launched later to identify the perpetrator of the fraud.
Alexis Anagnostaki (the lawyer who represented Van Pelt), said that the charge was absurd and exposed the way Greek cases are handled. He stated to the Greek newspaper that instead of arresting the shooter, they are blaming the manufacturer of the weapon.
Van Pelt also confirmed to TorrentFreak (opens in new tab), that his transparency regarding company ownership will not change – despite the legal problems he’s currently facing.
He said, “It’s very frustrating to be falsely charged of something when there is no evidence at all and a general misunderstanding of the technology involved.” TorGuard will still operate transparently, trust being the foundation of our operations.
In legal cases, VPN providers are becoming more targeted
Cybercrime is on the rise and VPN services have become more and more popular. These tools are used to protect people’s online privacy from internet snoopers and can be misused to perform illegal activities.
Furthermore, most private VPN providers have no-logs policies regarding how they manage users’ data. This means that information is never shared, stored or leaked. This could be problematic in an ongoing legal investigation as authorities are unable to find the exact perpetrator.
This is why governments may try to force VPN companies that store user information to do so, as shown in the India data law.
Moreover, movie companies also want VPN firms log pirates. TorGuard is one of many providers that have been brought to court over piracy allegations. CEOs and founders are now legally responsible for the actions of their users online.
Van Pelt may or not be able to make it out of the case without injury, but the Greek fraud case against TorGuard will likely set an example for the VPN industry.
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