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The decline has continued since then, driving down fees and causing performers to look elsewhere to make ends meet.

Having used the loan to continue to acquire tube sites and content producers, Thylman was then extradited from Belgium to Germany in 2012 for tax evasion on Manwin’s profits.

In 2009, the Secret Service seized $6.4 million from bank accounts controlled by Mansef, a company founded by Stephane Manos and Ouissam Youssef, the assets of which Mansef later sold to German tech investor Fabian Thylmann, who made them part of a company he owned called Manwin.

Manwin would later become Mind Geek.* (Of the $6.4 million that was seized, $4.15 million was later released pursuant to a settlement with the federal government.)* In April 2011, Manwin quietly secured a $362 million loan from Wall Street firm Colbeck Capital, founded by former Goldman Sachs employees Jason Colodne and Jason Beckman.

It is uncertain whether this strategy will work, since the facade remains fairly transparent.

As one Glass Door user wrote, “If you're interested in the ‘Content Formatter’ job, just be aware you're basically a glorified child porn screener, and you will be watching disgusting videos all day.” Because of the taboo surrounding pornography, especially in America, no antitrust actions are going to be taken against Mind Geek any time soon, nor has much attention been paid to the increasing bind that industry workers find themselves in as a single corporate behemoth gobbles up companies.

Its website says they are “pioneering the future of online traffic”—but doesn’t say much about what they actually do with all that bandwidth. Mind Geek has become the porn monopoly, putting industry members in the paradoxical position of working for the very company that profits from the piracy of their work.

The Mind Geek hydra exerts so much force that people in the online-porn industry are scared to talk about it for fear of blacklisting.

Video sites are by far the biggest consumers of bandwidth on the Web: Netflix, You Tube, Twitch … Of all top content providers, though, Mind Geek has by far the most shadowy presence.