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Finnish Customs sells off €46.5m in seized cryptocurrency

In the spring, the government pledged to spend the exchanged funds — at the time about 70 million euros — on humanitarian aid in Ukraine, but bitcoin's value plummeted before the transactions were made.

Image: Umit Turhan Coskun / AOP
Yle News

Finnish Customs sold off just under 1,890 bitcoins, a transaction that brought around 46.5 million euros into state coffers, the agency announced on Thursday.

Customs seized the cryptocurrency in connection with investigations of drug and doping related crimes.

Two cryptocurrency brokers were used to sell the bitcoins, which the agency said were selected through a competitive negotiation process in the spring.

Customs said it still holds around 90 bitcoins, but was still awaiting a valid forfeiture judgement before they can also be sold.

The agency noted that it has also seized other cryptocurrencies but the cases those funds are related to are still in the preliminary stages of investigation. Due to that situation, Customs said it could not reveal the types of cryptocurrencies nor their amounts in detail.

When Customs announced it was planning to sell the cryptocurrency in January, it said that most of the agency's crypto assets date from 2016, when 1,666 bitcoins were seized in a major drug bust.

But when the government announced plans to send proceeds of the sale to humanitarian aid efforts in Ukraine — around 70 million euros at the time — bitcoins' value plummeted by around 38 percent before the sale was made, three months later.

However, the government still plans to send the full 70 million euros to Ukraine, and that the missing funds would be found elsewhere, according to Leena Mörttinen, the finance ministry's Permanent Under-Secretary for International and Financial Markets Affairs.

Edited at 15:51 to add details about Finland spending the funds on humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

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