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Police Force's First Bitcoin Seizure Hits Paydirt With a 20-Fold Return

The Australian Federal Police's (AFP) first "restraint and forfeiture of Bitcoin" has hit paydirt with a 20-fold return.

The story, which was revealed in the AFP's latest annual report, begins in January 2016, when a gun runner was charged (and subsequently convicted) with the importation of three firearms. Payment for the firearms was made using Bitcoin, which were seized at the time of the arrest and had a value of $7,300.

Thanks to the slow-turning wheels of justice, the story then moves to January 2018, when the Bitcoin were restrained under the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) by members of the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce and Criminal Assets Litigation in Brisbane.

In November 2018, after "protracted negotiations", the gun runner relinquished the Bitcoin. Even though the cryptocurrency lost 70% of its value over the course of 2018, it was still well up on January 2016, so much so that the AFP's initial $7,300 seizure was now worth $154,000.

Before the AFP was tempted to celebrate with their windfall, they deposited it into the Commonwealth’s Confiscated Assets Account, the funds of which are used to benefit the community through crime prevention, intervention or law enforcement initiatives.

On a broader scale, the operation used as a guide in the AFP's "Better practice guide on identifying, seizing and restraining cryptocurrencies" (published in 2018).

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