The Irish High Court has ruled that cryptocurrency held by a convicted drug dealer is classed as the proceeds of crime.
The 2,000 units of Ethereum owned by Neil Mannion, who is serving a 6½-year jail sentence after admitting drug offences in 2015, was discovered by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
The Irish Times reports that the Ethereum was not seized along with other assets, including credit cards and bank accounts, at the time because the currency had not started trading.
But after a review in 2016, the CAB chose to bring a new application for it to be categorised as proceeds of crime.
Mannion challenged the application, claiming investigators did not have the right to access his computer because the case was dealt with in December 2015.
Ms Justice Carmel Steward ruled Mannion’s legal rights were not breached, but said his arguments were not without merit.
She added that the complexities of data privacy rights and cryptocurrency exchanges could result in a breach in a future case, and advised investigators to prepare for that eventuality.
Mannion and another man, Richard O’Connor, were charged with possessing drugs worth €143,000 following a raid on a property in Dublin in October 2014.
Journal.ie reports Mannion sold drugs over the internet and mailed packages to customers in countries including Japan, Argentina, Czech Republic, and the US in return for Bitcoin.