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 Gironde, 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 rural area east of Bordeaux, he is also suspected of incestuous rape. 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," said Eric Bérot, head of the central office for the suppression of violence against people (OCRVP), who had 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" -

It is the OCRVP - a service of the French judicial police - who carried out the investigations in collaboration with Europol, the European police office, which has a cell 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 ".

Finally, "the investigators of the OCRVP succeeded in identifying its IP address", she added.

At the end of his police custody, the suspect was indicted on July 9 on counts of "dissemination in organized gang" and "detention and recording" of child pornography, but also of "incestuous rapes committed on a minor by an ascendant, "and" incestuous sexual assaults on a minor 15 years old by an ascendant, "the prosecutor detailed in a press release.

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, between Dordogne and Garonne.

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