In May, a series of raids by Bulgarian law enforcement were reported to have resulted in the seizure of over 213,000 BTC, at the time valued at more than half a million dollars and now worth $3.2 billion USD. Yesterday, however, the head of Bulgaria’s Special Prosecutor’s Office, Ivan Geshev, stated that the Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry did not seize the bitcoins.
Today, the Seized Bitcoins Are Estimated to Be Worth 6% of the Bulgarian GDP
On May 19 of this year, European authorities announced the successful execution of a joint operation in conjunction with the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) that had successfully resulted in the seizure of 213,519 bitcoins. The bitcoins were taken from a criminal group comprised of “Bulgarian nationals [with] connections in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hellenic Republic, Romania, and Republic of Serbia,” accused of “recruiting corrupted Customs officers in all involved countries with the purpose to infiltrate a virus in the Customs’ computerized systems.” The virus would then allow the hackers to finalize the transportation of their goods after having made it appear as if “the cargo was already checked and passed” to Customs’ computer systems – circumventing all requisite fees in the process.
With bitcoin having been valued at approximately $2,354 USD at the time of the arrest, the seized bitcoins have since skyrocketed in value – with current estimates valuing Bulgaria’s loot at more than $3.2 billion USD according to current prices. It has recently been reported that the Bulgarian government has refused to provide details pertaining to the seized bitcoins, describing such as a request for “specific information from an investigation into criminal proceedings.” The estimated value excludes the additional $300 million USD worth of Bitcoin Cash that could be retrieved from the stash also…