Irish Court Confiscates Ethers From Man In Prison
The High Court of Ireland recognized ethers kept in the virtual wallet of an imprisoned person as proceeds of crime. Thus, Irish justice reached the “new legal ground” by a decision to confiscate digital assets after the investigation had been already conducted, the Irish Times reports.
The court ruled to withdraw the ethers equal to 25,000 euros ($28,400) from Neil Mannion, who is serving six and a half years of punishment for selling drugs on the darknet. He was convicted in 2014, and then the local Criminal Assets Bureau confiscated funds from the criminal’s bank account and cards, as well as seized his revenues in bitcoins. These procedures were completely settled by 2016.
The Bureau also found a wallet with ethers owned by Mannion, but provided that ethers were not widely used as a trading currency at that time, the investigators did not take them into account. Later, the Bureau attempted to confiscate digital assets, but Mannon opposed that, claiming that the investigation was completed and the authorities no longer had the right to invade his computer.
Then the High Court of Ireland stated that although the decision raised many questions, the prisoner's rights would not be violated in this case, and allowed the regulators to withdraw the ethers. Moreover, judge Carmel Stewart stated that during the initial investigation the authorities could not do that, as crypto exchanges protected privacy rights of their users.
This decision can be applied in other courts of Ireland, since they are based on the precedents set by the High Court.
Previously, a lawyer found a precedent for cryptocurrency theft cases.