Man charged with paying for fake hitmen to kill love rival

BERLIN (AP) — A man has been charged in Germany with attempted incitement to murder after allegedly paying thousands of dollars in a series of attempts to engage a contract killer to slay the partner of a man he desired, only to discover he had been defrauded by a darknet website.

Berlin prosecutors said Thursday they had indicted the 28-year-old, who was arrested in April.

They said the suspect first tried winning over the object of his desire — who didn’t return his affections and already had a partner — using “witches’ curses” booked online.

The suspect allegedly decided in February to kill the man’s partner, prosecutors said in a statement. They said he registered with a site on the darknet — a part of the internet accessible only through specialized anonymity-providing tools — that appeared to arrange contract killings.

He allegedly provided the details, address and photos of the intended victim, stipulating that the killing should look like an accident or a robbery, and set a reward of $9,000 in bitcoin. He increased the sum on offer a few days later.

Two weeks after his first payment, according to prosecutors, the suspect was told online that the intended killer had been arrested but a replacement would jump in if he paid more. He agreed, bringing his payments to a total of $24,000 in bitcoin. He then complained when nothing happened.

In early April, the suspect demanded that a third contract killer be put on the case, according to prosecutors.

The following day, the website’s administrator told him that he had been dealing with a fraudulent site and that he couldn’t get his money back. However, the suspect was told that, if he wanted, he could offer his own services as a contract killer and defraud prospective customers, according to prosecutors.

He allegedly took up the suggestion, while still looking for other ways to hire a killer.

The suspect was identified and arrested thanks to a journalist’s research, prosecutors said.

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