Monday, May 16

Bulgarian government wants to know where 213,000 bitcoins seized in 2017 are

The seizure of cryptocurrencies by government authorities has become commonplace recently, but what happens when these seized cryptocurrencies disappear? That’s what a Bulgarian politician wants to find out.

Ivaylo Mirchev, party member “Yes, Bulgaria!”, opened an inquiry to find out what the country’s government did to 213,519 bitcoins confiscated by the police about five years ago.

According local news, deputy Ivaylo Mirchev, an IT specialist, sent a letter to the government questioning the possible loss of a billion dollar value in bitcoin by the authorities.

BRL 43 billion in bitcoin

The emailed letter talks about a large amount of bitcoin confiscated by law enforcement agencies in 2017, but which, by all indications, simply “disappeared” without leaving a trace of what the authorities gave to the coins.

“There is some confusion over the fate of confiscated Bitcoins valued at around $8 billion. My objective is to discover the whereabouts of these digital currencies learned during Operation SHIPMENT/VIrus. Who had access to that money? What is the role of the Public Ministry in this? And most important of all: Where is the rest of the money?”

According to Mirchev’s investigations, 213,519 bitcoins were learned in 2017 and in January 2022 they were worth something around US$ 8 billion, about 43 billion reais.

Cryptocurrencies were seized from hacker group

According to Mirchev, the cryptocurrencies were confiscated by the police from a criminal group that sold computer viruses of different types and even imported illegal objects for sale on the black market.

At the time of the seizure, US$ 500 million (R$ 2.7 billion) was also seized, this amount was declared by the police to the press after the end of the Shipment / Virus operation in 2017, however, the part of the seizures in cryptocurrencies remains something nebulous and the parliamentarian believes that part of the evidence has been destroyed.

“Has any evidence been destroyed, and if so, by whose order? Why is Bitcoin currently available as evidence in the case, or is it available at all?” asked Mirchev.

The deputy gave the Cabinet of Ministers seven days to respond to the inquiry. According to official government information, after the seizure, which made Bulgaria one of the largest Bitcoin holders in the world, the Minister of Finance Vladislav Goranov said that bitcoins were sold in small lots to avoid a big impact on the market.

The government now wants evidence of the sales.