Suspected drug dealer loses private keys to seized €53.6m Bitcoin

More than €50 million in Bitcoin is feared lost after alleged drug dealer loses access to private keys following an arrest in 2017

The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has been unable to access €53.6 million in Bitcoin that was seized earlier this week as the suspected drug dealer lost the private keys.

Coin Rivet reported on the case on Wednesday – the largest seizure of assets in Ireland in more than 25 years.

While it was initially being hailed as a success it is now being described as a nightmarish situation for Irish authorities, who fear that the Bitcoin fortune will be irretrievable.

According to the Irish Times, Clifton Collins bought most of his Bitcoin in 2011 and 2012 using cash he made by growing cannabis, which the Irish High Court ruled as the proceeds of crimes.

In early 2017 Collins had more than 6,000 Bitcoin in one account although he feared it was easy for hackers to eventually steal.

This led him to dispersing his Bitcoin holdings across 12 new accounts before storing the private keys in hard-to-find places.

He printed the private keys onto sheets of A4 paper before hiding them in an aluminium case containing his fishing rods.

But when he was arrested for cannabis offences in 2017 his house was cleared by his landlord, with many of his items being taken to a waste disposal centre in Galway.

Workers at the dump backed up Collins’ claims by stating that they remember seeing fishing equipment before confirming that it was probably sent to Germany or China to be incinerated.

The alleged dealer had admitted to coming to terms with the losses, blaming his own stupidity.

While the large haul of Bitcoin remains unrecoverable, police did manage to seize a smaller amount of Bitcoin that was accessible as well as €100,000 in cash.

The total amount of accessible Bitcoin that has been seized is worth €1.5 million which still marks a significant haul for the Criminal Assets Bureau.

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