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Sweden: Enforcement Authority to Collect Bitcoins

(Oct. 23, 2014) On October 6, 2014, the Swedish Enforcement Authority staff announced, to Swedish media outlets, that it will start to investigate and seize Bitcoin holdings when collecting funds from indebted individuals. (Kronofogden ska leta Bitcoins hos skuldsatta [Swedish Enforcement Authority to Look for Bitcoins from Indebted Individuals], SVERIGES RADIO (Oct. 6, 2014).)

The Swedish Enforcement Authority is a government agency that enforces judgments for both private and public claims. (Information About the Activities of the Swedish Enforcement Authority, Kronofogden [Swedish Enforcement Agency] website at 3 (last visited Oct. 23, 2014).)

In its Omvärldsanalys (World Analysis) report from May of this year, the Authority acknowledged that the effects of individuals’ increased use of Bitcoin on the agency was not yet known. (Omvärldsanalys – April 2014 [World Analysis – April 2014], Kronofogden [Swedish Enforcement Agency] website at 26.)

Now Johannes Paulsson, a developer at the Swedish Enforcement Authority, has stated that the authority will actively look for Bitcoins when seeking assets in its debt collection efforts. (Kronofogden jagar bitcoins [Swedish Enforcement Authority Hunts for Bitcoins], DAGENS INDUSTRI (Oct. 6, 2014).)

The evaluation process and practical implications of this step are so far unknown. No seizure of Bitcoins has yet taken place, although the agency acknowledges that there have probably been cases of persons facing asset forfeiture having possession of Bitcoins that were overlooked in the collection process. (SVERIGES RADIO, supra.)