The brains behind DarkMarket, the clearing house for online criminals, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and five counts of furnishing false information at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday and asked to be remanded in custody.
Renukanth Subramaniam, 33, a Sri Lankan immigrant, set up DarkMarket in 2005 at an internet café in Wembley, London. He handed himself in to the police in late 2008 after the FBI infiltrated and took over the site, running it as a sting operation.
More than 60 DarkMarket users on three continents were arrested in subsequent police raids.
DarkMarket was a by-invitation-only internet message board where criminals could exchange information and tools to defraud banks and their customers of millions of pounds.
According to the FBI and the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), DarkMarket attracted more than 2,000 members who used information traded on the site, such as credit card details, to steal tens of millions of pounds from banks and individuals.
When he was arrested Subramaniam had a USB memory stick that contained the details of deals worth more than £100,000.