South Korea Seizes $1.4 Million Worth of Bitcoin Following Supreme Court Ruling

The South Korean government is taking action to confiscate 191 bitcoins seized in a child-porn cybercrime case. The perpetrator of this crime has been sentenced to jail with a $640,000 fine.

Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the move came after South Korea’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that cryptocurrencies can be seen as property with value that can be subject to forfeiture in criminal cases.

At the time of writing, the 200 bitcoins were worth a little over $1.4 million, as reported by CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index.

This order from the Supreme Court supports a previous ruling from an appeal that overturned a lower court’s decision to reject a prosecutor’s petition to forfeit the criminal’s cryptocurrency assets.

Yonhap says that the lower court denied the request based on the argument that cryptocurrencies only “exist electronically and have no physical form.” However, the appeals court later concluded that cryptocurrency can be seen as “profit earned from trade in goods.”

It is however still unclear regarding the methods South Korea authority would use to manage forfeited digital assets. This decision marks a notable legal reference, since there are ongoing criminal cases in South Korea that involve cryptocurrencies.

CoinDesk had previously reported that prosecutors from the Incheon district had filed a suit in December 2017 against a firm called Max Mining and 21 suspects in an alleged $250-million cryptocurrency mining fraud.


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