Moroccan Loses Appeal Over Bitcoin-for-Ferrari Prison Sentence

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  • A Moroccan man has lost an appeal against his prison sentence for buying a Ferrari with bitcoin
  • Thomas Clausi bought the car for $437,000 and paid with bitcoin, which is illegal in Morocco
  • Clausi also had a pay a $3.7 million fine

A 21-year-old Frenchman is facing 18 months in prison and a $3.7 million fine in Morocco after using bitcoin to purchase a luxury car. Morocco still considers bitcoin to be an illegal currency, and Thomas Clausi felt the full force of this particular law this week as the Casablanca Court of Appeal recently upheld his conviction on charges of fraud and illegal use of the cryptocurrency over the purchase of a Ferrari.

Bitcoin Use Illegal in Morocco 

According to Clausi’s lawyer, Mohamed Aghanaj, the verdict against his client was confirmed by the court last week, reaffirming the country’s firm stance against crypto use in Morocco’s judicial system. Clausi was arrested in 2021 after using bitcoin to purchase the Ferrari when an unknown woman accused him of fraud after exchanging the luxury car for a payment of around $437,000.

Moroccan customs saw this as an illegal transfer of funds, and in December of that year he was imprisoned on charges of fraud and the use of foreign currency for payment within Moroccan borders, landing him a prison sentence and fine in October last year. Clausi appealed, but, with a month left on his sentence, the appeals court ruled against him.

Morocco is one of a small number of countries which has a total ban on cryptocurrencies. This list famously includes China, but smaller nations such as Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Algeria and Egypt have also taken a dim view of its usage and outlawed it.