Business

Admir Aljic

Moroccan police nab kidnappers wanting BTC as ransom

In the second high-profile case involving SegWitCoin (BTC), Moroccan authorities announced that three individuals have been arrested after an attempted kidnapping where the alleged kidnappers were attempting to seize fiat and virtual currency. This comes just a day after the Moroccan Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) announced the arrest of a Palestinian man for trading BTC that was allegedly used to fund terrorist organizations.

On July 6, the Judicial Police in Casablanca arrested three persons who were suspected of involvement in an attempted kidnapping. In a statement issued by the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), they explained that the judicial police had been monitoring two of the suspected kidnappers. It is alleged that the two attempted to kidnap the third, taking him to his house in Casablanca where they would then steal large amounts of money, both hard currency and gain access into his e-wallet where they would seize his BTC.

Because of the close observation of police officials, they were able to apprehend the two as they were in the process of abducting the third. A search of the victim’s home enabled them to discover that more than MAD2 million ($208,500) was in the residence, which was seized by police pending further investigation. Police have concluded that the money was acquired using BTC and other digital currencies, but further details have not been provided. The two alleged kidnappers are currently being held in jail as is the victim, while they continue to investigate the money that was seized.

In an unrelated case, a Palestinian man was arrested on July 4 and charged with “receiving money from the public and carrying out unauthorized transactions.’’ According to the BCIJ, the man was residing in the city of Mohammedia.

The arrest was made as part of an effort by the DGSN to combat terrorism as part of an ongoing effort by the Moroccan government. This includes stopping and seizing assets and resources used in terrorist activities

The statement by the police explained that the man had considerable experience in electronic currency transactions and had developed several virtual trading platforms that enabled him to be able to acquire the virtual currency, primarily BTC. He had dealt with several clients outside of Morocco using the platform but no further details were provided.

The man is currently being held by authorities in pretrial detention. Details of when he will appear in court were also not provided.

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