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German Police Seize $2.17 Billion Worth of Bitcoin in Piracy Case

German police have announced the provisional seizure of nearly 50,000 bitcoins (BTC) worth about $2.17 billion, in what they claim to be the largest cryptocurrency confiscation in the country’s history.

The bitcoins were secured in mid-January 2024 as part of a joint investigation by the Dresden Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Saxony State Criminal Police Office, and the Leipzig II Tax Investigation Department, according to a police statement. The investigation was supported by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the FBI, and a Munich forensic IT expert company.

The seizure of the bitcoins occurred after a voluntary transfer by a suspect to the authorities’ wallets provided by the BKA. The final decision on the disposal of the bitcoins has not yet been made.

The ongoing investigation is based on the suspicion of commercial unauthorized exploitation of copyrighted works under the Copyright Act and the subsequent commercial money laundering, among others. The investigation targets two suspects (m, 40 years, German; m, 37 years, Polish) who were responsible for a leading German piracy portal until the end of May 2013. They are alleged to have purchased bitcoins with the proceeds.

No further information will be provided until the conclusion of the investigation.

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