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Criminal case against Kickass founder now officially on the ‘fugitive calendar’

By | Published on Monday 2 November 2020


The criminal case against the former operator of one-time piracy site KickassTorrents has been formally placed on a thing called the ‘fugitive calendar’. This follows the news last month that Artem Vaulin had left Poland where he was on bail fighting extradition proceedings.

Vaulin, who is Ukrainian, was arrested in Poland in July 2016 at the request of the US authorities, shortly before the then uber-popular Kickass file-sharing website was forced offline. Those US authorities then began extradition proceedings, seeking to force Vaulin to face charges of criminal copyright infringement in an American court.

Despite a Polish court approving that extradition in March 2017, Vaulin appealed and – from that point onwards – things started to progress much more slowly. Having originally been jailed, Vaulin was released on bail, continuing his fight against the extradition while living in Warsaw.

However, last month it was revealed that Vaulin had now left the Polish capital in breach of his bail terms, and that his location was currently unknown.

Having been formally informed of that development by US prosecutors, the judge overseeing the criminal case in a federal court in Illinois last week recommended that the ongoing legal action be moved from his calendar to what is known as the fugitive calendar. That basically puts the whole case on hold until Vaulin is found. If that ever happens.

When news broke of Vaulin’s disappearance last month, his legal team in the US said they now planned to withdraw from the case. That was also confirmed last week.

His US attorneys – which included Ira Rothken, better known for also representing MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom – told the court, according to Torrentfreak: “Because defendant Vaulin appears to have intentionally violated the conditions of release and became a fugitive, undersigned counsel are no longer amenable to representing defendant Vaulin and wish to withdraw as his counsel”.