A court in Tokyo, Japan, has ordered the conditional seizure of some USD 46,000 worth of bitcoin (BTC) and NEM’s XEM token that has been traced back to the Coincheck hack of 2018 – the first-ever court-ordered crypto seizure in the nation’s legal history.
Per Kyodo, a branch of the Tokyo District Court has placed a protective order on the funds ahead of a police-authorized seizure of the tokens. Prosecutors say the coins were deposited at a domestic crypto exchange by a 30-year-old man charged with handling stolen tokens from the hack earlier this year.
The man has previously been named as Takayoshi Doi (30), a doctor from Obihiro in Hokkaido. Police do not appear to believe the man was directly responsible for carrying out the attack, but have charged him with carrying out a dark web transaction to buy the tokens at a discounted rate – knowing full well that they had been stolen in the 2018 raid.
The Coincheck hack is still the biggest in crypto history to date, and saw criminals make off with some USD 400 million worth of NEM tokens from the exchange.
The funds have effectively been frozen and will be transferred to the government – possibly for auction – should Doi be proven guilty at his trial later this year.
Doi was arrested along with another man earlier this year, but the Tokyo police say that they are still on the hunt for the perpetrators of the attack, who are believed to have attempted to throw law enforcement officers off the scent by moving the tokens through a large range of domestic and overseas exchanges. Some of the stolen NEM tokens have since been exchanged for other cryptoassets such as BTC, say prosecutors.