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Cryptocurrency stash forfeit order by High Court

21 Feb 2020 / courts Print

Cryptocurrency stash forfeit order by High Court

A drugs’ probe has resulted in the High Court ordering the forfeit of Bitcoin worth €52m.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) unearthed the cryptocurrency stash, the largest single-value asset seized by CAB since its inception in 1996.

In February 2017, gardaí stopped Crumlin resident Clifton Collins, then aged 46, who was driving a jeep in the Sally Gap in Wicklow.

They seized cannabis from the vehicle and subsequently searched a Galway grow-house where cannabis plants worth €450,000 were discovered.

Early-stage investor 

CAB was called in after gardaí discovered the Bitcoin holdings and found Collins was an early-stage investor in cryptocurrency.

In July 2019, CAB secured a temporary freezing order on the digital currency under the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996.

Mr Justice Alex Owens of the High Court ruled yesterday in the Criminal Courts of Justice that the bitcoin was the proceeds of crime and should be surrendered. The judge placed a permanent freezing order on the currency.

The CAB application was not contested.

CAB will hold the bitcoin for seven years and then hand it over to the Department of Finance.

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