Bitcoin: A man who had 36 bitcoins confiscated in 2019 after being convicted of drug trafficking in Sweden managed to get 33 bitcoins back, the equivalent of US$1.6 million (or R$8.4 million at today’s rate). According to The Telegraph, a mistake made by the prosecutor in the case will cause embezzlement in public coffers.
When convicted 2 years ago, the unidentified dealer had the money from internet drug sales seized. At the time, the 36 bitcoins in his possession were equivalent to $137,000, which was the amount determined by prosecutor Tove Kullberg to be confiscated.
However, bitcoin prices soared as Sweden’s Enforcement Authority organized the auction of the cryptocurrency. At the time the agency held the event, it was necessary to sell only 3 bitcoins to cover the amount registered as profit from trafficking at the time of arrest.
The Swedish government was ready to sell the remainder of the amount seized after the initial offer, but the convict appealed to justice, stating that the State was only entitled to the 3 auctioned bitcoins, and won the lawsuit, being entitled to receive the remaining balance despite the illicit origin.
The prosecutor admitted the error during an interview with a Swedish radio station, saying the case was the first in the country involving cryptocurrencies, so there was no legal precedent to examine. “This led to consequences I couldn’t foresee at the time,” Kullberg said.
According to her, authorities need to improve their knowledge regarding digital currencies, as they are increasingly being used in criminal actions. “The more we increase the level of knowledge within the organization, the fewer mistakes we make,” she explained.
She concluded by saying that the correct thing would be to keep the value of the proceeds of crime in bitcoins instead of converting them to the currency.