191 Bitcoin Confiscated by South Korean Authorities
South Korea has been providing a lot of Bitcoin or crypto –related news lately. But this one is unrelated to any regulatory actions or the like. This time it’s about officials removing 191 bitcoins from a criminal’s possession earlier this week.
The culprit was running an illegal website which was linked to Bitcoin transactions. This proves once again that Bitcoin transacting is not entirely anonymous, as many people still believe.
South Korean law enforcement officials arrested the individual for running such illegal operations, and confiscated 191 bitcoins. Although the charge was that he was running an illegal site, there was no mention regarding to what kind of content he was publishing. Considering that he received a one- year sentence for his crimes, it is improbable that he was posting any content that might have been illegal or offensive. Regardless, authorities have confiscated 2.4 billion won worth of bitcoins.
But this isn’t the first time the individual was charged. He was indicted last year in May for running this platform. In addition to his bitcoin revenue, he also amassed a sum of 1.9 billion won charging members to access his platforms. According to the prosecution, 1.4 billion won worth of bitcoins has already been converted into liquid fiat currency, while the rest of the money was kept in bitcoin form. This posed as a problem, considering that South Korea does not currently recognize Bitcoin as an official currency.
So far there have been no signs from South Korean officials that they would seize the Bitcoins of someone who was involved in an illegal activity. The site’s entire business infrastructure was based around Bitcoin, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that such radical actions have been taken.
The accused claims that he has been wronged by law officials and that he hopes that the decision will be reversed. In this particular case, the local district court considered the bitcoins as criminal profit. They believe it is impossible to tell the difference between Bitcoin profits and advertising revenue which may have resulted in the process. It’s interesting that it wouldn’t be that difficult to track down all transactions involving bitcoin which were related to the site in question.
For now, the prosecution will not sell or auction the confiscated bitcoins. The sum will be kept in an electronic wallet, but no further details have been provided.
If this particular incident will lead to similar cases in South Korea remains to be seen. But at the moment, it is very obvious that the country is determined to eradicate all illegal activities that are connected to cryptocurrencies.