The Swedish government must return 33 bitcoin, worth more than $1.5 million, to a drug dealer in the first cryptocurrency seizure case in the country. The prosecutor of the case, who achieved the seizure of the cryptocurrency due to its illegal origin, recorded the seized amount in dollars, and due to price fluctuations, the government must reimburse the mentioned amount. The case might have repercussions in future cases.
Swedish Government to Reimburse 33 Bitcoin to Drug Dealer
The Swedish government must reimburse 33 bitcoin, worth more than $1.5 million dollars, to a drug dealer in a case that might have repercussions for similar future cases. The drug dealer was arrested two years ago by the Swedish Enforcement Authority, and 36 bitcoin were seized from him at that time. Tove Kullberg, the prosecutor that took the case, argued that the whole bitcoin stash had a criminal origin, and managed to seize the crypto.
However, Kullberg used the number of dollars in his case instead of the amount of cryptocurrency. Since then, the price of the bitcoin has grown enormously, causing the value of the bitcoin seized to keep growing, while the recorded amount seized stayed the same. Only 3 bitcoin were sold to pay for the amount seized.
This consideration has led the Swedish government to pay the difference to the drug dealer now that he has been released, even knowing the cryptocurrency was linked with illegal origins. Kullberg stated:
The lesson to be learned from this is to keep the value in bitcoin, that the profit from the crime should be 36 bitcoin, regardless of what value bitcoin has at the time. It has led to consequences I was not able to foresee at the time.
The prosecutor qualified the event as “unfortunate” and it shows the consequence of a lack of expertise when dealing with cryptocurrencies linked to criminal acts. Further, this case could act as jurisprudence for future cases, a strange turn of events for Swedish law.
Kullberg acknowledged his mistake, is now supporting investing in education for the prosecution on cryptocurrency matters. About this, he stated:
I think we should probably invest in an internal education in the authority, as cryptocurrency will be a factor we’ll be dealing with to a much greater extent than we are today. The more we increase the level of knowledge within the organization, the fewer mistakes we will make.
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