They say it does not pay to be a criminal but that may not always be the case, especially if your crime happens to involve a lucrative investment tool. A Swedish jailed drug dealer is about to be paid $1.5 million in bitcoin after his lawyer used the fiat value of the coin to make her initial case.
This is because the bitcoin the prisoner amassed through illegal online sales massively appreciated while he was in custody. Prosecutor Tove Kullberg valued his initial crypto stash at 1.3m Swedish kronor ($150,000).
The drug dealer had 36 bitcoins that appreciated in value tenfold during his time in custody. This meant the Swedish Enforcement Authority only had to use three of them to pay his ransom and debt. The rest (33 bitcoins), worth about $1.5 million, now have to be returned to the prisoner despite the fact that they were procured selling drugs.
"The lesson to be learned from this is to keep the value in bitcoin, that the profit from the crime should be 36 bitcoin, regardless of what value the bitcoin has at the time," Kullberg told The Telegraph.
She further noted that the case was one of the first in Swedish legal history where cryptocurrency had been seized and recommended and that the country should invest in an internal education in the [prosecution] authority, as cryptocurrency is bound to show up in more and more cases.
Just last June, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele adopted Bitcoin as a legal currency in the country, making it the first country in the world to officially adopt a solely digital currency. Paraguay has also set the course for the adoption of cryptocurrency.
"The more we increase the level of knowledge within the organization, the fewer mistakes we will make," Kullberg added.
The case is a strange one as there is no precedent for it. Still, it would seem that the Swedish Enforcement Authority could change the law and keep all the drug dealer's earnings to put that money to good use in the community. All in all, it's been quite an interesting case to follow for anyone who's involved in law and/or cryptocurrencies.