Back in December, it was reported that Bulgarian authorities had seized over 200,000 Bitcoins, at a value of over $3 billion today. This was reported by the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC). However, the Bulgarian ministry declined to provide full details, and are now reportedly refusing to provide any further information to SELEC.
Why Does it Matter?
SELEC as an organization, was created in 2010. Working under the Europol model, they participate in investigations. Bulgaria, as one of the twelve member countries, should provide information to SELEC for the investigation, if indeed crimes have been committed. However, their steadfast denial of the issue is obstructing SELEC if the allegations are true. Indeed, it was the organization itself that first reported the seizure of the Bitcoins. This was in direct contradiction to the Bulgarian ministry’s information.
Supposedly, the seized Bitcoins were part of a widespread investigation into criminal organizations that were storing their proceeds in cryptocurrency. It was also reported that the sting was part of a customs fraud investigation.
What Happens Next?
The reported issue is that Bulgarian officials refused to provide information on how the seized Bitcoin is being stored. As for what happens next, that is anyone’s guess though. If you look to the wider international community and its coalitions, contravention of internationally collaborative organizations such as SELEC, is rarely dealt with publicly. It may well be that the manner in which this issue is resolved is never revealed. However, it is a safe bet to assume that any penalties would be financial, and that a suitable consensus will be reached fairly swiftly to avoid any embarrassment.
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