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
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
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: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'