The Montreal porn giant helped by Visa

Montreal porn empire Mindgeek has had help from credit card giant Visa to market disturbing videos of child pornography, according to new legal developments in the United States.

The Montreal porn giant helped by Visa

Montreal porn empire Mindgeek has had help from credit card giant Visa to market disturbing videos of child pornography, according to new legal developments in the United States.

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Visa knew full well what it was doing when it allowed subscribers and advertisers of Mindgeek's XXX sites to pay with their credit cards, California Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled in a 30-year ruling. of pages delivered last Friday.

"At this early stage in the proceedings [...], the Court can comfortably infer that Visa intended to help Mindgeek monetize child pornography content," he said.

“Visa lent Mindgeek a crucial tool – its payment network – with the alleged knowledge that there was an abundance of monetized child pornography on Mindgeek sites,” he continued.

The decision was made in a lawsuit by Serena Fleites, an alleged victim of Mindgeek, against the Quebec porn empire.

Video of a minor

She is suing Mindgeek and Visa because videos of her when she was underage ended up on Pornhub. One of the videos was even tagged "13-Year Old Brunette Shows Off For the Camera," according to the judge.

Visa wanted to have his name removed from the list of defendants, but the judge ruled otherwise.

The giant Mindgeek officially has its headquarters in Luxembourg, but its senior management and the majority of its employees (1,000 out of 1,800 in 2021) work in offices on Décarie Boulevard, in Montreal.

The company operates a myriad of porn sites, including Pornhub, which was recently among the top five most viewed sites in the world, according to the ex-CEO of Mindgeek.

Without yet deciding on the merits, the judge based his reasoning in particular on the fact that Visa continued to offer Mindgeek payment services for its XXX sites, even after the publication of a devastating report on the company's practices. .

After announcing it was suspending business with Mindgeek, Visa then resumed quietly serving the company, according to the ruling. For comparison purposes, the firm PayPal had announced to suspend all its business with Mindgeek from 2019.

inexcusable conduct

"Visa's conduct is inexcusable and will likely cause incalculable reputational and financial damage," influential Wall Street billionaire Bill Ackman tweeted on Friday.

According to Judge Carney, if Fleites' allegations prove true, "Mindgeek is a criminal enterprise also engaged in legitimate business."

Our Bureau of Investigation and the program J.E. broadcast a report on Mindgeek's activities in March. It reported several lawsuits filed over the past two years and recent decisions going against the company's arguments to defend itself.

Neither Visa nor Mindgeek responded to our requests for a reaction. In a Washington Post article published yesterday, the two companies said they disagreed with the ruling.

SCANDAL AND LAWSUITS

December 2020The New York Times publishes a report, 'The Children of Pornhub', which claims Mindgeek's flagship site is infested with rape videos and child porn.

Visa then announces that it is temporarily suspending its services to Mindgeek. The company removes 80% of content on Pornhub, including 10 million unverified videos.

February 2021A parliamentary committee in Ottawa is looking into Pornhub. Company executives are heard, as is Serena Fleites, an alleged victim.

March 2021Seventy Canadian parliamentarians call for a criminal investigation against Pornhub.

April 2021

The luxurious house in the north of Montreal of the CEO of Mindgeek, Feras Antoon, is burnt down.

June 2021Serena Fleites and others file a lawsuit against Mindgeek in the United States.

February 2022 A class action lawsuit filed by a woman whose alleged 16-year-old rape video was posted on Pornhub is allowed in Alabama.

June 2022Feras Antoon, CEO of Mindgeek, and David Tassillo, COO and number 2 of the company, announce their resignation and 125 employees are laid off in Montreal.

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