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Media report: Suspected persons in charge of the porn platform xHamster exposed

The previously unknown operators of the porn platform xHamster have most likely been exposed through research. XHamster has a certain reputation among the relevant platforms: The website repeatedly attracts negative attention because it contains illegal content, such as videos or images of non-consensual sex, depictions of sex with minors and tension videos. The operators are apparently two men from Russia who run xHamster through a complex network of offshore companies with a center in Cyprus. This is the result of research in the STRG_F report format by funk / NDR and the magazine The mirror result.

When the company structure was disentangled, the research team came across one name again and again: Oleg Netepenko. The 38 year old Russian is loud a daily news report on the research results Among other things, majority owner of the Cyprus-based IT company Wisebits, where the global interdependencies of companies and holdings that extend as far as the Virgin Islands come together.

Anyone looking for contact with xHamster – for example using the complaint form for inadmissible content – ends up with a company called “Hammy Media”, also based in Cyprus. This is obviously a front company: the owner listed in the commercial register confirms his position, but also describes himself as a “pensioner” – and is in turn registered as the owner of numerous other companies on the island.

The construct was noticed by a suspected money laundering report: Although “Hammy Media” showed only about 780,000 dollars in profit in 9 years, payments in the millions flowed through the company network behind it. Two companies from it also appeared in the suspicious transaction reports that the research team was able to view. An internal bank alarm went off because the financial institution could not understand the destination of the payments.

Since Netepenko is 90 percent owned by Wisebits and the profits from the company network ultimately converge there, the authors of the research consider him the main beneficiary of xHamster. The obfuscations about the complex financial flows and the cover company “Hammy Media” are supposed to hide the true identity of the xHamster owners. The domain for xHamster was initially registered anonymously in 2007, later a person submitted a Moscow address under a pseudonym. According to the entry in the land register, this is assigned to an Oleg Netepenko, this name also appears again and again in the company papers.

A second name that the research team repeatedly came across in documents is Dmitry Grusev. He holds the remaining 10 percent of the shares in Wisebits and is well known in the local IT scene in Cyprus. Anonymous sources from this scene confirmed to the research team that Netepenko and Grusev are considered the “bosses” of xHamster, even if they use numerous pseudonyms. However, there is no direct confirmation of this, as the companies and people involved did not respond to inquiries.

So far it was unknown who is behind xHamster at all, and those responsible have never had to make official statements, for example to repeatedly criticize the illegal content on the platform. It is true that xHamster’s terms of use prohibit the uploading of material that was not mutually agreed. However, in the porn platform industry it is an open secret that xHamster has decided to specialize in precisely this material. Such content is sometimes deleted quickly after those affected have reported. However, they reappear just minutes later and ads don’t work.

One Report on the research findings published STRG_F on Sunday (October 17th) at 6 p.m. on his YouTube channel.


(tiw)

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