Fabian Thylmann, 'the ruler in the Realms of Lust’, is arrested for alleged tax evasion

Fabian Thylmann makes $100m a year from his online porn empire. Now the taxman is after him

Berlin

The reclusive 34-year-old German entrepreneur behind the world’s most profitable online pornography empire is being held in a Belgian jail on suspicion of tax evasion.

State prosecutors in Cologne said they were pressing for the extradition of the internet porn king Fabian Thylmann on charges of avoiding paying tax on the $100m his vast global online sex video network – which includes the lucrative Youporn website – is estimated to earn each year.

“The accusations concern Mr Thylmann himself and the companies he owns,” a state prosecutor’s spokesman said. Mr Thylmann, who lives in Belgium, said he was contesting the allegations.

Dubbed “The Ruler in the Realm of Lust” by the German media, Mr Thylmann only unmasked himself as the creator of eight of the world’s 15 most successful online sex sites last year. “Our aim is banal: we create as many opportunities for people to spend money as possible,” he declared in an interview.

Notoriously publicity shy, Mr Thylmann looks like the archetypal computer nerd: he is pale faced, sports thick glasses and likes wearing hoodies. Yet he has revolutionised the business of pornography consumption in less than a decade.

With sex video sites including Youporn, Brazzers, PornHub and MyDirtyHobby, Mr Thylmann’s  Manwin company is the online sex industry’s global leader. An estimated 16 billion visitors click on to Manwin- owned sex sites every month.

His breakthrough began in the late 1990s when he developed software called NATS (Next-generation Affiliate Tracking Software) which linked the vast number of internet pornography sites for the first time and enabled visitors to select sex films according to preference. The upshot was a surge in the production of amateur home sex videos catering for every conceivable sexual predilection.

The success of NATS encouraged Mr Thylmann to start his own online sex sites. He began in 2006 by securing a licence for the classic erotic Playboy label which gave him control of all of its television and online productions. Sixty million viewers surf Mr Thylmann’s porn sites each day. The revenues come from the pay pornography sites advertised alongside, which only a fraction of viewers sign up to.

Germany’s Die Welt newspaper says its journalists gained access to Manwin’s internal accounts which allegedly showed that although German actors performed for sex videos in Germany, they were paid illegally, by a subsidiary company in Cyprus.

Mr Thylmann denies he evaded tax and insists that he was merely minimising his tax burden in accordance with the law.

Fabian Thylmann

Just 34 years old, the German software developer has made a fortune after revolutionising the business of internet porn. His string of sex websites attracts 60 billion visitors every month

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Recording Engineer

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A long established media compan...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We are working with a school that needs a t...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Events Business) - Manchester - Urgent!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A teacher of Science is required by this 11...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea