Judge Jane Kelly, a Superior Court Justice in Toronto, Canada ruled on April 3, that Matthew Phan, an online drug dealer, and dark web expert should relinquish his 281.41BTC (appr. $1.4 million) to authorities.
According to a local news agency, The Star, Justice Kelly reached that conclusion after hearing expert evidence earlier in the day that Phan got the said amount from the illegal sale of narcotics and other contraband items such as firearms.
Phan, on the other hand, claimed before the court that not all of the Bitcoin holdings was gotten from his dark web activities which he admitted to in an earlier court hearing.
Phan said he had gotten part of the Bitcoin holding from trading the cryptocurrency on exchanges and also from buying and selling gold bars.
However, Justice Jane Kelly did not believe Phan's statement regarding how he had acquired so much Bitcoin from only trading and gold deals.
She is quoted in The Star's report as saying,
“There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that Mr. Phan was using the dark markets to purchase illegal items such as firearms and silencers,” pointing to some contraband items that authorities found from his apartment in Mississauga.
She also noted that it is only reasonable to believe that payment for such illegal narcotics sales generated through sites such as Evolution and Agora was made using Bitcoins wallets stored on Mr. Phan’s computer.
Conclusively, the Judge ruled that it was only 7.23BTC (appr. $36,000) that evidence excluded as part of Mr. Phan's proceeds for illegal activities. The rest which is to the tune of 281.41BTC should be forfeited to the Ministry of the Attorney General.
If that decision were to stand as expected, then it would become the highest forfeiting of Bitcoin holdings enforced by a Canadian Court ruling.
It will also add to the growing number of cryptocurrency related crimes among which includes a report by Stmarket.co last week, that Ukrainian authorities arrested a 32-year man for using malware to mine cryptocurrencies with computing power generated by some 1.5 million website visitors.
Subscribe to our Telegram channel to stay up to date on the latest STO and crypto regulations news