Court Grants Filing Extension in DeepDotWeb Case

In the case of the United States vs. Tal Prihar, the alleged administrator of the darkweb news site DeepDotWeb, a court granted the defense’s motion for an extension of time to file pretrial motions. The defense argued that more time is needed due to the complexity of the case.

The United States government accused Tal Prihar and Michael Phan of participating in a money-laundering conspiracy through DeepDotWeb, a now-defunct darkweb news site and link aggregator. According to the government, Prihar and Phan illegally earned money through the use of affiliate links. When a user signed up for a marketplace using one of the DeepDotWeb links and then made a purchase with the same account, DeepDotWeb received a percent of that transaction in Bitcoin.

A picture of DeepDotWeb.com received a seizure banner not unlike the ones used for darkweb markets
DeepDotWeb.com received a seizure banner not unlike the ones used for darkweb markets

The United States government seized DeepDotWeb.com and announced its seizure in May 2019.

Between November 2014 and April 10, 2019, DeepDotWeb received approximately 8,155 Bitcoin through the use of affiliate links, worth close to $8,414,173 when adjusted for Bitcoin’s value at the time of each transaction. Due to Bitcoin’s price fluctuation, the same Bitcoin was valued at more than $15 million at the time of withdrawal from the DeepDotWeb Bitcoin wallet.

Prihar, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil at the time of his arrest, was arrested in France between a flight between Israel and Brazil. Phan, also an Israeli citizen, resided in Israel at the time of his arrest. Prior to his extradition from France to the United States, Prihar gave an interview to an Israeli news outlet. Coverage of the interview is available here.

A picture of At a recent arraignment hearing, Prihar entered a plea of not guilty.
At a recent arraignment hearing, Prihar entered a plea of not guilty.

In a recent court filing, the defense for Prihar filed a motion for extension of time to file pretrial motions based on the complexity of the case.

The allegations are complex, cyber in nature, and international, and both defendant and his counsel need additional time to investigate them, review discovery materials, and discuss the case with an eye toward pretrial motions.

For these reasons, counsel respectfully requests additional time to evaluate and, if necessary, file pretrial motions until January 13, 2021.

In another recent filing, a District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted the motion requesting an extension to file pretrial motions until January 13, 2021.

Although court filings reference Prihar’s extradition to the United States, the Board of Prisons inmate locator does not return a result for the detention center currently housing Prihar. It is unclear if Phan has been extradited from Israel.

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