The Swedish government found itself in the unusual position of cashing out around $ 1.5 million worth of bitcoin to a drug dealer, whom they convicted and then jailed. Authorities are forced to pay the man 33 BTC after his illegally acquired bitcoin was valued behind bars.
A Swedish prosecutor’s mistake
Two years ago, a Swedish court convicted the man for selling drugs online and illegally earning 36 BTC from those sales. However, his then prosecutor Tove Kullberg used the fiat value of the coin to file her first lawsuit.
As a result, the court ruled that the man’s illegally earned bitcoin, which was then worth 1.3 million Swedish kronor ($ 100,000), should be confiscated. This mistake resulted in the court having to pay the drug dealer $ 1.5 million when he was released.
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In the two years following the man’s conviction and imprisonment, Bitcoin prices have skyrocketed. His crypto stash had grown significantly to more than $ 1.5 million. To meet the court’s original $ 100,000 settlement, the Swedish law enforcement agency only had to sell 3 BTC. That leaves 33 BTC worth $ 1.5 million in the criminal’s wallet, which he now has to return. The Swedish government would have avoided this problem entirely if it had sold the 36 coins at the time of the imprisonment. Alternatively, if prosecutors reported the funds in crypto instead of dollars.
Tove Kullberg’s reaction
Speaking to Swedish radio, Kullberg admitted that the way she reported the funds in dollars rather than crypto was a mistake. She describes it as “unfortunate in many ways. That has had consequences that I couldn’t foresee at the time. “She added,” The lesson to keep the value of bitcoin is that the profit from the crime should be 36 bitcoin, regardless of the bitcoin value at that point. ”She went on to say that the mistake came about because it was the first time in Swedish legal history that this type of case had occurred.
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Kullberg also stressed how important it is for the government to educate its employees about the details of the crypto industry and how it feeds into court rulings. “The more we increase the level of knowledge within the organization, the fewer mistakes we make.”
This case is a typical example of how cryptocurrencies continue to challenge judicial authorities. Governments around the world have tried to understand the volatile and technical nature of cryptos. And find ways to integrate it into the legal systems.
Featured image from CoinGeek, Chart from TradingView.com