The Swedish authorities find themselves in an unusual situation. They must return about $1.5 million in bitcoins to a convicted drug dealer. All due to the fact that the prosecutor’s office made a mistake in drawing up a lawsuit in 2019.
In 2019, a Swedish court found a man guilty of selling drugs through the Internet and receiving illegal proceeds from drug trafficking in the amount of 36 BTC. But the prosecutor’s office did not indicate the number of coins in bitcoins, but recalculated the drug dealer’s income at the current exchange rate in Swedish kronor in a lawsuit filed with the court. At that time, in the midst of the crypto winter, 36 bitcoins were worth 1.3 million Swedish kronor, or $100,000. The court found the man guilty, sentenced him to two years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine in the amount of the illegal income received after his release. Namely, 1.3 million Swedish kronor.
In 2021, the man was released, but by that time bitcoin jumped in price $45000. To satisfy the court’s request, calculated in Swedish kronor, Swedish law enforcement agencies needed to sell only 3 BTC out of 36 BTC earned by the drug dealer. The remaining 33 BTC worth $1.5 million are to be returned to the freed drug dealer.
In a conversation with a Swedish radio station, prosecutor Tuve Kullberg, who drafted the lawsuit in 2017 and indicated illegal cryptocurrency earnings in Swedish kronor, called the situation “unhappy in many ways.”
“The lesson to take away from this is that value must remain in bitcoin and the profit of crime must be 36 bitcoins, whatever the value of bitcoin is at the time. The more we expand our knowledge in our organizations, the fewer mistakes we make.”
He added that the error was due to the fact that this was the first case of this type in the history of Swedish law.