Administrator of dark web drug market Sipulikanava sentenced to 5.5 years in prison by Finnish Supreme Court for serious drug offences

The Finnish Supreme Court (KKO) has sentenced Kim Holviala, the administrator of the anonymous discussion forum Onion Channel (Sipulikanava) on the dark web, which was also used as a drug marketplace, to five years and six months in prison for serious drug offences.

Supreme Court convicts man of serious drug crimes

According to the indictment, the administrator, an IT consultant in his 50s from Vandabördig who ran in the 2019 parliamentary elections, committed serious drug crimes by selling drugs through a dark web discussion forum on the encrypted Tor network.

The administrator himself was not involved in the drug sales, but allowed the transactions to continue. According to the indictment, the man also streamlined sales by dividing the forum by region and advertising sales. Thus, prosecutors also argued that the activity aided and abetted individuals in committing further drug crimes through the forum.

Both the district court and the appellate court dismissed the lead case for serious drug offenses and convicted the man of aiding and abetting. The man had previously been sentenced in the Helsinki Court of Appeals to four years in prison for aiding and abetting 18 serious drug offenses and 12 drug offenses.

However, unlike the lower court, the Supreme Court found that Kim Holviala, the administrator who runs Onion Channel, was a drug dealer whose activities were drug dealing and sentenced him to five years and six months of unconditional imprisonment for aggravated drug trafficking.

The man claims he does not deal in drugs

Holviala set up Onion Channel, a dark web network that allows anonymous use, in 2014. drug sellers and buyers submitted sales and purchase announcements and contact information on the dark web site.

Holviala was not personally involved in the drug dealing process.

In its preliminary ruling, the Supreme Court found that Holviala's activities as an administrator of Onion Channel enabled large-scale anonymous drug trafficking to take place through the network, which authorities were unable to intervene in for several years.

The Supreme Court wrote in its decision that Holviala's activities must also be considered a serious deterioration when considered as a whole, especially in light of the fact that it facilitated large-scale drug trafficking through the Internet throughout Finland.

The lower court found that the activity was not drug trafficking

At the time, both the Court of Appeal and the District Court of Itä-Uusimaa rejected the prosecutor's main charge of serious drug offences.

They did not consider Holviala guilty of drug trafficking because he did not personally benefit financially from drug trafficking.

As a second charge, prosecutors sought punishment for the webmaster for aiding and abetting a personal drug crime committed through the dark web channel.

Onion Channel (Sipulikanava)

Onion Channel (Sipulikanava) is a Finnish dark web site operating on the encrypted Tor network, through which very large quantities of drugs were sold, purchased and distributed throughout Finland during 2014-2017.

Onion Channel (Sipulikanava) was the successor to the defunct Thorlauga and was founded in early 2014. The website was also used for criminal purposes, such as to channel drug trafficking, and to discuss drugs and other "forbidden" topics under the guise of anonymity.

On November 1, 2017, Customs, in cooperation with the Central Criminal Police, shut down Sipulikanava.

From:On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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