It seems that the Bulgarian government may be sitting on about $3 Billion dollars worth of bitcoin! How did they come into the possession of this vast sum of money? They earned this money through a series of events in the takedown of a criminal investigation which took place earlier this year.
In the process of conducting their investigation, the government was able to seize more than 200,000 bitcoins. Now, due to bitcoin’s surge in prices, 200,000+ bitcoins at the current price plus the fact that it is increasing? Their sum of money is immense.
The press release by the arm of the government that carried out the operation stated earlier this year that SELEC support and Bulgarian authorities conducted a joint operation (PRATKAVIRUS) in the cyber-field. They wanted to figure out what was causing the issues and compromising the computerized systems of the country. They figured out that it was a group of people who were using their technical prowess to operate in a manner that would not be very conducive to the state. The reason these perpetrators were conducting their illegal activities were to evade taxes.
The group of individuals who wanted to evade taxes were primarily of Bulgarian origin and had connections to people in other countries like, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Hellenic Republic, Romania, and the Republic of Serbia. Their mode of operation was to recruit customs officers in the aforementioned countries with the goal of sending a virus through each of the customs computer systems. After the virus was installed in the computer systems of the respective nations and their customs department computers, the group would make sure that all the goods that they wanted to pass through customs would then go off without a hitch because they had green-lighted them in the respective computer systems!
They would then deploy and transport many goods because the goods would be shown as already accounted for, and the goods would easily pass customs and move on to their next destination. It was a sophisticated operation that involved different components including human (social) + technological skill-sets.
The Bulgarian authorities conducted a thorough investigation while seeking to capture these people and searched over a hundred addresses, suspects, and vehicles over the course of their investigation.
After some time, they were able to seize a large quantity of money, equipment, communication devices, computers, tablets, various bank documents, and much more.
Overall, they arrested 23 suspects, including five of them that acted as if they were Bulgarian customs officers. The Customs Agency believes that they suffered 10 million Lev in damages, but were able to console themselves by finding the bitcoin wallets of the main suspects which had a total of 213, 519 bitcoins!
This interesting tale seems have grown even more interesting as many questions arise. How does the government deal with the excess that was gained by the seizure of the coins? Do the leftovers go back to the wallets of those that they caught and were in the process of judging? How did they find the wallets and coins in the first place?
It is certainly an interesting tale and we’ll be keeping up with it as they release more information.