South Korean Jury Deliberate on Auctioning Pornography Merchant’s Seized Bitcoin
South Korean Authorities are at crossroads over the decision on how to handle the approximately 216 bitcoin seized from a Korean web developer and “porn lord.”
The case began in April when a web developer was indicted for allegedly distributing 235,000 copies of illegal pornographic material on adult websites over three years.
The Korean District court in Suwon, however, had previously ruled in favor of the accused saying the cryptocurrency cannot be confiscated. Despite the non-physical nature of the currency, the prosecutor is now appealing to the court to have a change of heart, partly because the seized bitcoin has now appreciated in value.
The accused web developer owns several adult websites with approximately 1.2 million clients.
Along with the seized 216 bitcoin, Ahn’s 1.46 billion Korean won (roughly $1.37 million) was also seized. The 216 BTC ,which was approximately 500 million Korean won in April, is now worth over 4.25 billion Korean won (equal to $4 million) due to the recent bitcoin rally.
Bitcoin Not Appropriate For Confiscation
In September, the attorney filed a 1.46 billion won lawsuit and forfeiture of 216 BTC against Ahn and his family. The Suwon District Court subsequently convicted and sentenced Ahn to one year and six months in prison.
However, the presiding judge, working in line with the provisions of Article 10 of the South Korean Concealed Revenue Regulated Act, collected only 340 million won out of the 1.46 billion won case, and he also refused to confiscate Ahn’s seized bitcoin.
The judge continued by stating that, “not only is it difficult to do this, but it is not appropriate to confiscate bitcoins because they are in the form of electronic files without physical entities, unlike cash.”
The second hearing for Ahn’s cases is scheduled to be held on January 8, 2018. Since 2016, the world’s flagship blockchain-based cryptocurrency has been making mind-boggling price gains.
The bitcoin price, along with the cryptocurrency’s massive hold on the market, has attracted many investors, fintech firms, government and bad actors in recent times.