Alleged Freedom Hosting owner to face U.S. extradition for child porn charges

Eric Eoin Marques, the Irishman accused by the FBI of running Freedom Hosting, once the “largest facilitator of child porn on the planet,” wants to do all he can to avoid prosecution in the United States.

The Irish High Court, which opted against trying Marques in December, declined to allow him to challenge the decision by judicial review, RTE reports. Instead, the Dubliner is likely to face distribution and advertising child pornography charges in America where the penalties are significantly stiffer.

Freedom Hosting operated as a Deep Web hosting service for hidden services using the Tor anonymizing network.

Ireland’s director of public prosecutions refused to provide the department’s reasoning for refusing to prosecute Marques, a decision that Marques also tried and failed to mount a challenge against.

While running Freedom Hosting and the over 100 sites it supported, the FBI alleges, over $1.5 million cleared Marques’s bank accounts in the year running up to his arrest.

The next hearing will be held on Oct. 14, Justice John Edwards announced, and will likely fix a date for the extradition hearing Marques has been waiting over a year to face.

H/T RTE | Illustration by Jason Reed

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.