Bordeaux (AFP)

"He was in the Top 10 most wanted pedophiles in the world": a 40-year-old French father, unknown to the justice system, was arrested in a village in southwest France, suspected of having animated child pornography sites accessible to "thousands of people" on the darknet, the hidden part of the internet.

The suspect "had become one of the ten priority global targets" of the fight against pedophilia, revealed Monday the prosecutor of the Republic of Bordeaux, Frédérique Porterie.

Arrested on July 7 at his home in a village east of Bordeaux, he is also suspected of rape of his two minor children whom he staged in filmed content, according to a source familiar with the matter.

He admitted the facts and is now in pre-trial detention.

This man "allowed thousands of Internet users around the world to have access to photographs or videos of a child pornography nature", explained the magistrate.

"Unknown to the police and the justice system", he presents "a very common profile, lambda: married, father, integrated into a profession", working in a local community, told a source close to the file to AFP.

"He was a great administrator of child pornography sites, who looked like Mr. Everyone", summarized Eric Bérot, head of the central office for the Suppression of Violence against Persons (OCRVP), the police structure which led the investigates and spotted his actions in 2014.

His arrest is the fruit of "a work of international cooperation", underlined Eric Bérot. "He only traded in English. We had no indication of his nationality. Then, with cyber infiltration, we managed to identify him," he said.

- "In the middle of the countryside" -

The French police investigated in collaboration with Europol, the European police office, which has a unit to fight against the international child pornography networks of the darknet.

"An internet user has been particularly targeted by all the world's law enforcement agencies for several years, using a pseudonym and who administered two child pornography websites on the darknet," Porterie told AFP, adding that in 2017 he had shared " on these networks photos and videos of his own production ".

Ultimately, French investigators "managed to identify her IP address," she said.

At the end of his police custody, the suspect was indicted on July 9 on counts of "dissemination in organized gangs" and "detention and recording" of child pornography images.

He was also charged with "incestuous rape committed on a minor by an ascendant", and "incestuous sexual assault on a minor 15 years of age by an ascendant," the prosecutor said in a statement.

The man, described as an "active pedophile" for several years, according to the source close to the file, was arrested at his home, about thirty kilometers from Bordeaux.

It is "in the middle of the countryside", "it is very surprising (...) It is not there that we expect to discover one of the main animators of the darknet in the field of pedophilia (. ..) he was among the top 10 most wanted pedophiles in the world. "

During the searches, the investigators seized computer equipment at his home. "To be an administrator, you have to be able to have hardware, such as servers," said the same source.

© 2020 AFP