Sweden’s government will have to return more than $1.5 million, worth 33 bitcoins, to a man accused of online drug trafficking who has been in prison for two years. At the time of the bust, police detained 36 BTCs worth $150,000, but during his arrest the assets gained tremendous value.
According to The Telegraph, after the arrest, bitcoins were auctioned off by the Swedish Enforcement Authority, a body that executes government financial orders. At the time, says the report, the appreciation was such that the sale of 3 BTCs of the amount was enough to cover the costs of the process.
“By the time the agency started auctioning the 36 bitcoins, they had appreciated tenfold, which means that only three had to be sold to generate the required amount”, the newspaper emphasizes.
Regarding the return decreed by the Swedish justice, the prosecutor of the case, Tove Kullberg, said it was an unfortunate outcome and stressed the importance of keeping the cryptocurrencies for the duration of the process.
“The lesson to be learned from this is to keep the bitcoin value, that the crime amount should be 36 bitcoin, regardless of what the cryptocurrency is worth at the time,” said Kullberg.
The prosecutor pointed out that the case was one of the first in the country’s legal history in which the cryptocurrency was seized and that there was, at the time, no established precedent on how to handle bitcoin assets by the court.
“I think we should invest in internal education, as cryptocurrencies are a factor that we will deal with much more than today. The more we increase the level of knowledge within the organization, the fewer mistakes we will make”, concluded the promoter, according to The Telegraph.