Following an undercover bust of an underground crime network, Bulgaria has seized enough Bitcoin to settle a fifth of its national debt.
According to ZeroHedge, the Bulgarian crime enforcement agency and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center caught 23 Bulgarian criminals and confiscated a total of 213,519 Bitcoins – roughly valued at $3.5 bln.
The syndicate had hacked Bulgarian customs computers, effectively allowing them to import goods without paying the prescribed duties. With the help of a few corrupt officials the group installed viruses on customs computers in order to allow remote access.
SELC said the group included five Bulgarian customs officials, while others had ties to former Yugoslavian states.
“The organized criminal group consisted of Bulgarian nationals with connections in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Romania, and Serbia” said SELC.
The most intriguing part of this story is the incredible value of Bitcoin and what the Bulgarian government plans to do with it. SELC confirmed that when they seized the wallets, Bitcoin was valued at $2354. It’s now well past the $16k.
“As well, found in the Bitcoin wallets of the main suspects was a total of 213,519 Bitcoins. As reference, the value of one Bitcoin is over $2354. The offenders choose Bitcoin’s way of investing/saving the money because it’s rather difficult to be tracked and followed.”
According to National Debt Clock, Bulgaria’s national debt is in the region of $16 bln – so they could take a big bite out of that if they use their new Bitcoin fortune.