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Fabian Thylmann, Porn King Opposing Condoms In L.A. Adult Video, Arrested

Updated at the bottom with reaction from the pro-condom camp. First posted at 9:07 a.m.

The co-founder a company that backed the porn industry's fight against mandatory condoms in L.A. county was arrested in Brussels on suspicion of tax evasion, according to reports.

The German publication Die Welt says Fabian Thylmann, a managing partner of porn juggernaut Manwin, was arrested for allegedly dodging taxes in Germany.

In fact, the publication claims that ...

... an investigation it published in September alleged tax improprieties but that Manwin lawyers succeeded in getting a preliminary injunction against "passages" that mentioned those allegations.

A Google translation of one of two Die Welt pieces on the arrest continues:

Now the tax investigators have established facts. Because an arrest warrant of the Cologne District Court, he was arrested last week in Belgium and sits in custody.
Fabian Thylmann, Porn King Opposing Condoms In L.A. Adult Video, Arrested
YouPorn.com

Manwin has become one of the biggest companies in porn in the last five years. The company has taken over many of the biggest YouTube-like "porn tube" sites -- such as YouPorn and Pornhub -- that offer free clips (and sometimes give headaches to L.A. adult video producers).

It also helps run and market Playboy TV.

The holding company is based in Luxembourg but has offices in Burbank, Montreal and Hamburg.

Die Welt says Hamburg offices of the company were searched and that computers and documents were seized.

The next step for Thylmann, 34, appeared to be possible extradition from Brussels to Germany. His Brussels arrest was based on a warrant out of Cologne, according to reports.

Manwin donated $75,000 to the anti-mandatory-condom side, No on Measure B, making it the campaign's biggest backer. The no side lost, however, and porn producers must ensure condom use if production takes place in most of the county.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which spearheaded measure B, accused the no campaign of taking illicit money because Manwin is a foreign-based company.

The no side has argued, however, that because of Manwin's large presence in the U.S., the contribution was legit.

[Update at 3:40 p.m.]: The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which spearheaded the campaign for measure B, notes that Manwin gave $150,000 (not $75,000, as we wrongly reported) to the no side.

AHF president Michael Weinstein issued this statement today:

From our reading of the campaign finance filings and our own research into the issue over the past few months it appears that a foreign porn cartel--Manwin--provided the major funding for the opposition campaign to our successful condoms in porn ballot measure, something that appears to be illega. Now, Manwin's Thylmann is arrested in Belgium for tax evasion, the first cousin of money laundering. While we are happy that funds from Manwin did not seem to adversely affect the outcome of the Measure B election, we nevertheless urge the FEC to continue its investigation of our complaint against Manwin over what we believe to be tainted and illegal campaign contributions.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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