Finland’s customs officials have revealed plans to sell 1,981 bitcoins that were seized mainly in connection with drug trafficking-related criminal investigations. The majority of the confiscated bitcoins (1,666) are from the Douppikauppa case, the darknet operator who was arrested in 2016.
To Sell or to Destroy the Coins
According to a report by one Finnish broadcaster, the confiscated bitcoins had an estimated value of $800,000 at the time of the seizure. However, with bitcoin now trading above $38,000, Finnish Customs may well get over $75 million if the coins are sold at current prices.
Meanwhile, the same report quotes an official with Finnish Customs explaining the process that preceded the decision to sell. The official, Pekka Pylkkänen, reveals the other options that were examined by Finnish Customs before the final decision was made. Pylkkänen explains:
On behalf of the Customs Act, we had the option of handing them over to another government agency or some other party and destroying them. (However) we came to the conclusion that alternatives other than sales are not realistic.
Prior to the latest decision to offload the seized BTC, Finnish Customs officials had similarly planned to auction the digital assets in 2018. However, this plan was ultimately abandoned.
Seized Bitcoins to Be Sold as Soon as Possible
In the meantime, Pylkkänen, who admits that the “risk of diversion of funds to the criminal market still exists,” explains that the decision to proceed with the sale had to be made because “under customs legislation, it (Finnish Customs) has no choice but to sell the assets.”
The official adds that Finnish Customs plans to sell the digital assets on its own or via an intermediary. He emphasizes that the “bitcoins will be sold as soon as possible.”
The report also reveals that when the sale is finally executed, Finnish Customs “will transfer the money from the sale of bitcoin to the Ministry of Finance.”
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