There is no precedent for how to deal with revenue from cryptocurrencies, according to the prosecutor.
The Swedish government has been forced to pay $ 1.5 million worth of Bitcoin to a convicted drug trafficker, after the value of the digital assets the convict illegally amassed soared during his time in prison.
This case highlighted the need not only to train prosecutors in how cryptocurrencies work, but also to define a protocol for dealing with illegal income generated by digital assets.
The dealer was convicted by the Swedish court two years ago after he was caught selling drugs online and illegally earning 36 BTC from these sales. Prosecutor Tove Kullberg managed to prove the offense and argued that the illegal income in Bitcoin, which was then estimated to be worth 1.3 million Swedish kronor ($149,000), should be confiscated.
However, the prosecutor used the fiat value of Bitcoin during her initial argument. “It’s unfortunate in many ways “, Kullberg told Swedish radio. “This led to consequences that I was not able to foresee at the time “, she explained.
Over the past two years, the price of Bitcoin has increased almost tenfold. So when the Swedish law enforcement authority decided to auction the illegally earned Bitcoins, it had to sell only 3 BTC to generate the 1.3 million SEK sanctioned by the court.
The remaining 33 BTC are now being returned to the drug dealer, although he confessed that these assets were earned illegally by selling drugs online. 33 Bitcoins today are worth about $ 1.5 million.
The prosecutor said that there is no precedent in Swedish legal history regarding the treatment of Bitcoin profits in court.
She added that the profit from the crime should have been 36 BTC, regardless of the value of the cryptocurrency at the time of pleading. The unusual situation could also have been avoided if the auction had been carried out immediately after the conviction.
“I think we should probably invest in internal training within the authority [de poursuite], because cryptocurrency will be a factor that we will be dealing with to a much greater extent than today “Kullberg said.
“The more we increase the level of knowledge within the organization, the fewer mistakes we will make “, concluded the prosecutor.