Ireland’s High Court Deems a Prisoner’s Crypto Holdings to be “Proceeds of Crime”


In what is being considered to be a contentious judgement by many from within the crypto world, a respected Irish news outlet recently reported that the nation’s High Court recently ruled that the 25,000 euros held by a state prisoner in the form of ETH were essentially “proceeds of a previous crime committed by the individual.”

The person in question, Neil Mannion, is currently serving a six and a half year sentence for drug related charges and has been in police custody since late 2014. According to local media outlets, this verdict has “broken new legal ground” since never before has there been such a case presented in front of the Irish judicial system.

More On The Matter

According to various trusted sources, Mannion was charged for selling illegal drugs on the internet (via pathways such as Silk Road and Agora). Following his trial, he was sent to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2015 (after having pleaded guilty to misgivings associated with drug possession and distribution).

Additionally, in 2016 the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) found that Mannion was in possession of a large amount of Bitcoin (BTC) which was then swiftly taken over by the government agency (along with all of his other funds stored in different banking accounts).

Not only that, another recent investigation into the matter revealed that Mannion also possessed a secret online crypto wallet that held Ethereum (ETH) worth approximately 25,000 euros. However, Mannion’s lawyers argued that since Ethereum had not yet “started operating as a trading currency” at the time of trial, the assets should not be touched by the CAB.

The Aftermath

Following Mannion’s plea to leave his Ether holdings untouched, the CAB submitted an application which was taken up by Justice Carmel Stewart. In regards to the matter, Stewart noted that while the issue at hand was highly intricate, the government still had full rights to procure Mannion’s ETH holdings— since they too were potentially obtained in an illegal fashion.

Final Take

For those not aware, the existing Irish legal system is part of an overall hierarchical setup wherein lower courts are intrinsically bound by the precedents set by higher courts in the past.

To elaborate further on the matter, we can see that earlier this year in June, the co-founder of Irish BTC broker ‘Eircoin’ alleged that the the BPFI (Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland) had discriminated against him by not allowing him to open crypto related accounts despite him following all of the necessary guidelines set forth by the nation’s financial regulator. However, as was to be expected, the BPFI along with some of Ireland’s other centralized banking institutions denied any such wrongdoing.

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