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German Authorities Seal Massive 50,000 Bitcoins Linked to Pirating Operation

The suspects voluntarily transferred the Bitcoins to the wallets controlled by German authorities. German law enforcement hasn’t cleared as to what they would be doing with these Bitcoins. 

The German police issued a statement on January 30, revealing that they had seized a total of 50,000 Bitcoins worth $2.2 billion allegedly purchased using funds associated with copyrighted materials. This is also the largest amount of Bitcoins ever seized by German law enforcement.

The law enforcement is currently investigating two men of German and Polish nationality. These two people reportedly managed a pirated materials operation thereby buying Bitcoins with the funds. Besides, they may potentially face charges, including unauthorized commercial exploitation of copyrighted works and money laundering. The official announcement reads:

“In an investigation by the Dresden General Prosecutor’s Office, the Saxony State Criminal Police Office and the tax investigation of the Leipzig II Tax Office as the Saxony Integrated Investigation Unit (INES), almost 50,000 Bitcoins were provisionally secured in mid-January 2024. The investigation was supported by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the FBI and a Munich forensic IT expert company.”

After the uncovering, the suspects voluntarily transferred the Bitcoins to the wallets controlled by German authorities. German law enforcement hasn’t cleared as to what they would be doing with these Bitcoins.

Germany has been home to several crypto firms looking to operate under the country’s regulated norms. Recently, Germany-based crypto custodian and staking services provider Finoa secured $15 million in a successful strategic funding round. Initially seeking $5 to $6 million from existing investors, Finoa surpassed its goal, driven by increased interest from external investors, especially after the company recently attained profitability.

Crypto Seizures by Governments

Government agencies across the world have been cracking down on the use of Bitcoin and other digital assets for illicit purposes. Just like German law enforcement, the US government has seized Bitcoins belonging to the notorious Silk Road route, some ten years back.

The US government has taken control of Bitcoin holdings associated with the Silk Road marketplace in two distinct incidents. The initial confiscation occurred on February 10, 2021, in Memphis, Tennessee, followed by another seizure on May 11, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. Subsequently, the District Court in Maryland concluded the condemnation and forfeiture proceedings, officially transferring the Bitcoin to the US government on January 8, 2024.

Recently, the US government filed a notice to sell nearly $130 million worth of Bitcoins derived from the Silk Road darknet marketplace. The government plans to sell these Bitcoins in two separate lots, following the directives of the US Attorney General.

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