- A convicted Swedish drug dealer has been awarded ₿33 seized from him by police
- Authorities only needed to sell three of the ₿36 taken to equal the cash value of his illegal haul
- Police were forced to hand back the remaining bitcoin as the value had gone up so much since the arrest
Swedish authorities have been forced to return 33 of 36 bitcoin confiscated by police from a dark web drug dealer after the cryptocurrency massively increased in value. The unnamed drug dealer had the proceeds of his crimes confiscated when Bitcoin was valued at around $3,775, but the vagaries of the Swedish justice system meant that he was in for a very nice surprise – only ₿3 had to be sold to cover the money taken by the time they were sold, meaning he was legally allowed to reclaim possession of the remaining bitcoin.
Bitcoin Was Seized During a Bear Market
It is not known when the dark web drug seller was arrested, but given the fact that the ₿36 haul was valued at 1.3 million Swedish kronor ($136,000) it must have been in either mid-2017 or late 2018. Rather than all the Bitcoin being auctioned off, as is the case with countries such as the U.S., in this case it was decided that the 1.3 million kroner should be recovered, with no thought presumably given to what might happen to any bitcoin left over after the sale.
This is the situation authorities have found themselves in, but on a far bigger scale than they can have imagined. They took so long to agree on the way forward and arrange the sale that the price of bitcoin had grown by more than 13 times since the seizure, meaning that only three bitcoin were needed to be sold to recover the costs and leaving the convict’s lawyer to claim that his client should get the rest back.
Case Breaks New Ground in Sweden
The courts agreed with this sentiment, and the convict was awarded the ₿33, today worth $1.65 million, as a nice sum to greet him when he gets out of prison. The case was the first in Swedish legal history to include seized cryptocurrency and as such there was no legal precedent, leading to the delays and, for the justice system at least, an unsatisfactory outcome.