CEO of Vancouver-based company facing racketeering charges over encryption tech
VANCOUVER -- A CEO of a Vancouver technology company is facing charges laid by federal authorities south of the border.
The allegations from attorneys in California involve the installation of encryption software on smartphones.
According to an indictment, "Sky Global's devices are specifically designed to prevent law enforcement from actively monitoring the communications between members of transnational criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking and money laundering."
Officials say the company's sophisticated encryption software has been installed on at least 70,000 devices worldwide. The indictment says the software allows users to communicate with each other in a closed network routed through servers in Canada and France.
Prosecutors allege that "for more than a decade, Sky Global has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in profit by facilitating the criminal activity of transnational criminal organizations and protecting these organizations from law enforcement."
Two Vancouver men, CEO Jean-Francois Eap and Thomas Herdman, who authorities say is a former distributor of Sky Global devices, face charges of conspiracy to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
A statement from Eap says, in part: "We stand for protection of privacy and freedom of speech in an era when these rights are under increasing attack. We do not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by our partners or customers."
The allegations have not been proven in court.
The joint investigation involves the RCMP, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
A message on Sky Global's website states the domain has been seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of the investigation.
With a report from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim