The Bulgarian government is sitting pretty on $3 billion worth of Bitcoin

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A crackdown on organized crime by Bulgarian law enforcement in May resulted in the seizure of more than 200,000 bitcoins – an amount worth more than $3 billion at today’s prices.

After cracking down on organized crime back in May 2017, the Bulgarian law enforcement agencies seized more than 200,000 Bitcoins – which are now worth more than $3 billion USD.

According to a press release from 19th May, the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC), a regional organization comprised of 12 member states including Bulgaria, a total of 213,519 bitcoins were seized that month. During the seizure, 23 Bulgarian nationals were arrested as officials claimed that an alleged customs fraud scam was put in place by these people.

Bulgarian authorities commented at the time:

“The offenders choose the bitcoin way of investing/saving the money, because it is rather difficult to be tracked and followed.”

The investigation shows that the whole fraud scam was based on developing a virus which was used to hack into Bulgarian Customs computers, allowing the perpetrators to skip paying fees when transporting goods into the country. According to the officials statement, bribed corrupt agents within the government allowed the virus to be uploaded on its computer.

 

The bribe was supposedly as high as 10 million leva (national Bulgarian currency), worth roughly $6 million USD.

It is un clear at this point in time what exactly the Bulgarian government is doing with the astonishing amount of Bitcoin in their possession. The government itself has refused to release further details, citing an ongoing formal investigation.

Notable in the May 19 release is a notation that, at the time it was published, a single bitcoin was worth $2,354. The release stated that the total amount seized was worth $500 million – less than one-sixth of its current value today.

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