Belarus Wants Authorization to Seize Crypto from Criminals

Amid countries increasingly auctioning Bitcoin (BTC) seized in law enforcement actions, some jurisdictions are fighting for authorization to confiscate crypto.

A state authority in Belarus wants lawmakers to authorize them to seize cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin from criminals. The Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus, a centralized system of state law enforcement agencies, is purportedly planning to back a legal initiative that would grant them the authority to confiscate crypto.

Belarus now has legal regulation that allows the Investigative Committee to seize crypto

Ivan Noskevich, head of the Investigative Committee, publicly voiced the initiative in a March 9 interview with Belarusian state-owned TV channel CTV. According to the executive, Belarus has had no legal regulation that would allow the authority to seize cryptocurrency through enforcement actions to date.

According to the official, the Committee has been encountering problems while investigating criminal cases involving cryptocurrencies as part of the offense. As such, the Investigative Committee has proposed to amend the existing criminal procedure law to allow the authority to seize crypto in such cases. Additionally, Noskevich believes that the authority should be able to confiscate crypto from actors who used it in crimes motivated by profit.

The authority hopes to amend existing criminal procedure law

Noskevich further expressed hope that lawmakers in Belarus would respect the stance of the Investigative Committee and will put necessary amendments into the existing criminal procedure law. He said:

“We’ve encountered such cases before, but there was no legal regulation of the mechanism for seizing cryptocurrency. I hope that the legislators will listen to the opinion of the Investigative Committee, and such amendments will be introduced into the criminal procedure legislation.”

Cointelegraph has contacted the Investigative Committee for additional information but did not receive an immediate response. This story will be updated should they respond. 

Although Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko reportedly legalized cryptocurrencies in the country back in 2017, Belarus doesn’t appear to have been very active in terms of crypto-related developments to date. Among the latest crypto news from the country, Belarus’ general prosecutor raised concerns over the role of crypto in tax evasion in June 2019. Previously, Belarus’ largest bank, Belarusbank, was reported to be considering setting up a cryptocurrency exchange.

Other jurisdictions worldwide actively seizing crypto from crimes

While the Investigative Committee is fighting to become authorized to confiscate crypto, a number of countries worldwide have been putting seized cryptocurrencies on auction as part of a common practice. As such, the Belgian Federal government plans to auction $125,000 worth of Bitcoin on March 24, 2020. As reported, the United States Marshals Service sold a total amount of 185,230 bitcoins confiscated during its enforcement operations.

However, some jurisdictions are not quite sure what to do with seized cryptocurrencies. On Feb. 25, Cointelegraph reported on Finnish Customs deliberating about what to do with 1,666 Bitcoins seized from drug criminals years ago. The authority purportedly doesn’t want to auction the confiscated Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency could be returned to the hands of criminals.