A local online drug marchant in Canada has been ordered by a court to relinquish about 281.41 bitcoin ($1.4 million) after he was discovered to have used the cryptocurrency to fund his illegal dealings.
Toronto star had reported that in 2015, local authorities seized the dealer’s laptop during investigations, only to discover bitcoin (worth about $65,885 at the time).
The dealer, Matthew Phan, who has since accepted the accusations against him, is being charged with the possessing of illegal substances, which includes ketamine, cocaine and PCP, and also for attempting to import a gun into the country, in December 2018.
However, in a different twist to the case, Phan, begged the court to allow him keep half of the cryptocurrencies discovered, saying not all of them were gotten through illegal means.
“Phan, who fought the forfeiture, argued not all of the bitcoins were used for nefarious purposes and that some were used to buy and sell gold.”
“As well, he claimed he was selling the cryptocurrency itself on various exchanges,” the Judge Jane Kelly said.
The Superior Court Justice, said she believes the accused claims, that not all the bitcoin were gotten from illegal means, but that she finds it difficult to believe his explanation on why he had so much bitcoin in his possession.
“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that Mr. Phan was using the dark markets to purchase illegal items such as firearms and silencers,” she said in her statement.
“It is clear from the evidence found during searches, particularly of his condominium unit, that he was conducting a large sales operation of illegal narcotics.”
The judge however, allowed Phan to keep 7.23 BTC (about $36,371), in-line with her notion that not all of them were used for illegal trade.
The verdict has been revealed as Canada’s largest-ever cryptocurrency forfeiture.