Frenchman Prosecuted for Mentioning Bitcoin in Conversation

The fact statedin the title of the article seems unbelievable in the context of democracy andfreedom of speech. The oldest existing republic of Europe and the world hasproven lack of tolerance towards one of its citizens, Pierre Ethève, who has notcommitted any crimes, but who was bold enough to withstand injustice addressing theexisting norms and laws of the country and the entire European Union.

 

The Story of Pierre

Less than a dayago Pierre Ethève has told his story to Reddit users, not onlyto warn others, but mostly to provide an understanding of the background of the problem. Closerexamination of the situation creates more questions than answers. However, whomight take the will and responsibility to reply?

Mr. Ethève hasentered the Roissy CDG Airport of France in good mood and with a feeling ofcomfort. Being just 30 years old, already successfully working in the financesector, he planned to land in London Heathrow, United Kingdom in less than 3hours. The time to boarding has passed uneventfully during an informal conversationwith his friend.

Both have neverthought that there might be prohibited topics not to be touched on in a chat.The friend of Ethève was willing to know more about Bitcoin, from someonecompetent. Pierre Ethève has never hidden the fact he was a Bitcoin enthusiastas it is no crime or taboo.

The conversationhas evolved during security control, when Pierre Ethève was asked toproceed for a detailed examination. Finally, the person in charge of theprocess from BAU claimed:

“You're under arrest, come with me.”

After requesting to see an ID card, Pierre Ethève has undergone something very similar to an interrogationwith compassion and subjectivity. The first block included questions on drugsand cannabis. Mr. Ethève negotiated accusations of taking, owning, distributing oreven supporting the legalisation of drugs, and cannabis in particular.

The next blockwas bigger, but had nothing in common with national law. While Pierretried to understand the reason of his condition, he was asked whether he knowswhat Silk Road is. The denial moved the policeman to anger.

“Have you ever been convicted of fiscal fraud?”

Pierre Ethèvewas shocked and surprised. He had no reason to lie:

“No, never.”

The insolenceof the official knew no limit. He continued to ask if Pierre had Bitcoins and if so, howmany, and why he had not declared them at customs. Even the fact that the coinsare at home, assigned to his desktop machine, just stored and not used forany kind of purchase did not subdue the confidence of the policeman: Bitcoinsare for buying drugs, and in the case that a person should possess any, then he or she has alreadybought or is about to buy illegal substances.

The finale wasworthy of a Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech:

“I'm afraid you'll have to spend some time in custodybefore we can resolve this situation; inFrance it is illegal to use other currencies than the euro.”

The entrance intothe room of a second policeman has decreased the tension. PierreEthève has been sent to a physician, who has conducted a drugs test. The resultwas negative. Still, the officers have threatened Pierre with confiscation of his data andwarned him that next time he speaks about Bitcoin, he should be ready to be arrested.


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