Canada Seizes $1.4 Million Bitcoin Holdings in Reportedly Largest Ever Forfeiture

A Toronto judge has ruled an online drug dealer must pay his entire $1.4 million Bitcoin (BTC) holdings to the state in what is reportedly Canada’s largest ever forfeiture, local daily news outlet The Star reported April 3.

Matthew Phan, who dealt in illegal narcotics online, had tried to convince law enforcement he had amassed his 281.41 BTC (worth around $1.4 million at press time) through other activities.

The court had sought to claim the stash in February, with Phan appealing against the demands, a process he has now appeared to lose.

According to The Star, Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly said Phan had failed to convince her that the funds had materialized as a result of legal operations such as trading on cryptocurrency exchanges.

“It is a reasonable inference to draw that payment for such illegal narcotics sales was made using Bitcoin that was found in the digital wallet on Mr. Phan’s computer,” the publication quotes her as saying Wednesday.

The case comes in the aftermath of heightened media attention around Bitcoin in Canada following the collapse of trading platform QuadrigaCX.

The platform, the CEO of which unexpectedly died in December last year, currently owes its clients around $190 million in crypto and fiat amid controversy over its liquidity and funds handling.

Ernst & Young, currently working as administrators for the business, this week officially admitted the chances of a reemergence from its present difficulties was unlikely.

At the same time, in a separate case, Canadian prosecutors have ordered the freezing of $22 million in ICO tokens issued by local consulting firm Vanbex amid suspicions its organizers used the profits for personal gain. The company denies any wrongdoing.