The State Revenue Service of Latvia (SRS) has seized some bitcoins for the first time. The cryptocurrency, allegedly acquired through illegal means, is still being stored in the wallet set up by a criminal. Experts have expressed concerns about the risk of the money disappearing as officials continue to insist only government agencies have access to the wallet.
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Latvian Tax Authority Seizes Crypto Months After Court Order
The announcement from the tax administration comes after a court in the capital Riga decided in October that the cryptocurrency had been involved in criminal activity and must be confiscated from a convicted person. Prosecutors alleged that the digital money had been obtained illegally and used for settlements between criminals. “The gathered evidence provided sufficient reason to conclude that this cryptocurrency was obtained in a criminal way and is connected to a criminal act,” Kurzeme District prosecutor Inese Lindberga stated, quoted by the Latvian TV3 channel.
Obviously, it’s taken months for the SRS to get hold of the crypto. Initially, the tax agents weren’t ready to disclose too much information about their first attempt at seizing cryptocurrency and refrained from official comments on the case. Now the authority says it has obtained the “access details” to the wallet and fulfilled the court order. It remains unclear, however, if the SRS has the seed phrase or the password, or both. Although they can be held by many people simultaneously, the agency does not think the coins should be transferred somewhere else. So the supposedly confiscated crypto remains in the original wallet used by the criminal.
Quoted by the Jauns.lv news outlet, IT specialist Kirill Solovyov commented that SRS officials were lucky this time because they were able to gain access to the wallet. But it’s strange, Solovyov noted, that the bitcoins are still stored in the same wallet, the password for which its convicted owner should still remember. Despite the obvious risk for the digital cash, an SRS representative insisted: