The Lithuanian government has sold digital currency seized by law enforcement, in the first sale of its kind of confiscated cryptocurrency in the country.
The Lithuanian State Tax Inspectorate sold 6.4 million euros ($7.6 million) equivalent in ETH, Monero, and BTC, liquidating the seizures for fiat to add funds to state coffers.
Noting that the transaction took around a day to complete, the State Tax Inspectorate said that it would now be easier in the future to exchange cryptocurrency seizures for fiat currency.
Director of tax arrears administration for the State Tax Inspectorate, Irina Gavrilova, said the agency was now familiar with the process for selling digital currency for euros, and would feel more comfortable doing so with future seizures of digital currency.
“The conversion of cryptocurrencies into euros took almost a day. The whole process was new for the tax administrator, from the takeover of the confiscated cryptocurrencies to their realization.”
According to the agency, the funds were confiscated back in February 2020. There was no detail as to how the State Tax Inspectorate sold the assets, though it was noted the Lithuania government agency set up a digital currency wallet to receive funds from law enforcement agencies directly.
Government digital currency seizures are becoming increasingly common, as law enforcement agencies continue to clamp down on criminality involving digital currencies like BTC. In particular, illegal transactions and money laundering through digital currencies have provided law enforcement agencies with a target for confiscation, as part of the range of remedies available in enforcing the law.
Similarly, under proceeds of crime legislation, governments are now more familiar with the protocols for seizing and liquidating crypto assets held by criminals, with the Lithuanian State Tax Inspectorate only the latest tax authority to work through the process of liquidating seized tokens.