Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Founder of Oink file-sharing site had 20,000 savings

Oink website
The Oink site was closed down in October 2007

A Teesside man received $18,000 (£11,000) a month in donations from people using his pirate music website, a court has heard.

Alan Ellis had saved £20,000 months after getting his degree, despite only just starting his software engineer job, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The 26-year-old founder of the Oink website, from Middlesbrough, denies conspiracy to defraud.

Oink was shut in 2007 after its 200,000 members downloaded 21 million files.

The jury has been told users of the private site paid donations to be able to invite friends to join.

Peter Makepeace, cross-examining the defendant for the prosecution, said: "The money was rolling in, wasn't it?

"You weren't ignorant of these huge sums coming in?"

'Wealthy man'

Mr Ellis agreed, but said the donations were to pay for server's rental.

The "surplus" was intended to eventually buy a server.

He agreed he had about 10 bank accounts with some £20,000 in savings when police raided the house he shared in Middlesbrough.

Mr Makepeace said: "You were a wealthy man for someone who had only been working a few months."

Mr Ellis, of Grange Road, Middlesbrough, replied: "This was just surplus donations.

"The money had to be stored somewhere."

Earlier Mr Ellis told the court that he lived "a very basic life", where he shared accommodation with students and friends.

The trial continues.

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