Today's a tough day to be a pirate in Sweden. First, a local prosecutor announces to charge The Pirate Bay's admins for copyright infringement and "for helping others to break copyright law and conspiring to break copyright law". And then there is this article on the website of the German Der Spiegel magazine that connects The Pirate Bay and affiliated organizations to the well-known Swedish neo-fascist Carl Lundstrom.

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Rumours about Lundstrom's connections to the Torrent website have been making news in Sweden for months now, but until today the whole affair hasn't gotten much attention from the rest of the world. The general public in Sweden first learned about these accousations when a representative of The Pirate Bay was grilled on local television about it in March. There is a recording of the show up on Youtube, complete with English subtitles.

The clip shows Tobias Andersson of The Pirate Bay saying that Lundstrom sponsored the Torrent website with servers and free bandwidth. Der Spiegel reports that Andersson went on stating that the site couldn't have started their operations without Lundstrom's help. The magazine also makes it look like Lundstrom is still supporting the site financially, but doesn't present any evidence supporting these claims.

German copyleft blogger Julian Finn tried to get the story straight today by asking the other side. He interviewed Magnus Eriksson of the Swedish Piratbyran, an organization that is closely affiliated with The Pirate Bay. Eriksson insists that there was no direct financial support:

"Carl Lundström was the CEO and is still the largest shareholder of Rix Telecom, a large provider in Sweden. Frederik from The Pirate Bay also worked there. At that time Rix supplied bandwidth and server space for The Pirate Bay. In the mean time TPB has left Rix and also Frederik left the company. The Pirate Bay received neither servers nor money from Rix. Only bandwidth and server space."

The story doesn't seem to be over though. The German IT news website heise.de reports that The Pirate Bay is now hosted by PRQ, a company started by the site's adminstrators that uses a Rix-owned datacenter for their operation. Lundstrom isn't CEO of Rix anymore, but still is a significant shareholder of the company, according to heise.

The Pirate Bay is famous for mocking it's critics with amusing counter-notices. At the same time the organisational and financial structure of the site and it's affiliated organizations have been very opaque. Some of this is obviously due to legal threats. But it would probably be a good idea for The Pirate Bay team to respond to this controversy with a little more transparency and seriousness.

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