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Criminal Assets Bureau entitled to seize cryptocurrency despite earlier agreement with offender

By: Mark Tottenham BL

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High Court, on the application of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), grants an order over €24,013-worth of cryptocurrency (Ethereum) found on a computer belonging to a person convicted of drugs offences, on the grounds that: (a) the offender had admitted that his illegitimate and other funds had been 'cross-contaminated'; (b) an earlier settlement agreement between the offender and CAB did not preclude CAB from seeking an order over these funds, as the earlier agreement was not in discharge of any liability to CAB; and (c) the failure of CAB to seize the cryptocurrency at the initial search arose partly from the fact that the cryptocurrency in question had only recently started trading, and the CAB were dealing with an unknown quantity such that an understandable oversight had occurred.

Proceeds of crime - Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) - s. 3 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 - application for order over cryptocurrency (Ethereum) on respondent's computer - value of about €24,852 - conviction of drug-related offences - prior orders concerning online commercial activity - seizure of electronic devices - prior consent agreement in 2016 - whether agreement in full and final settlement of any liability to CAB - whether seizure of cryptocurrency was tainted with illegality - cross-examination of respondent - admissions to illegal activity - 'cross-contamination' between illegitimate funds and other funds - lack of candour - whether market existed for the relevant cryptocurrency at the time of the previous order - right of privacy.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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