Skip to main content

European Business British judge orders confiscation of $1-million in cryptocurrencies from jailed hacker

A London judge ordered on Friday the confiscation of bitcoin and other digital currencies worth nearly $1 million from a prolific computer hacker, in the first case of its kind for Britain’s biggest police force.

At Southwark Crown Court, judge Joanna Korner ruled that the state could confiscate 922,978.14 pounds ($1.13 million) worth of cryptocurrencies from Grant West, 27.

West, from Kent in southeast England, was sentenced in May last year to over 10 years in prison for charges from conspiracy to defraud and possession of criminal property to the possession of drugs. He must obey the confiscation order or face an extra four years in prison, Korner said.

Story continues below advertisement

The Metropolitan Police said West used phishing emails in attacks on more than 100 companies worldwide, stealing tens of thousands of customers’ financial details before selling the data on dark web marketplaces. He later converted the profits to cryptocurrencies.

West operated on the dark web under the alias of “Courvoisier,” the Metropolitan Police said. A judge at his trial last year described him as a “one-man cyber crime wave,” the BBC reported at the time.

While other British police forces have previously seized from criminals bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the seizure was the first of its kind for the Metropolitan Police.

The wild fluctuations of the price of bitcoin, which regularly sees double-digit intraday price moves, caused a headache for the prosecutors in setting the value of the confiscation, said prosecuting barrister Kevin Barry.

The cryptocurrency seized at the time of West’s arrest in September 2017 was at the time worth 1.6 million pounds ($1.95 million).

The relative anonymity of cryptocurrencies has been a draw for criminals since their inception a decade ago, with the challenges in accessing encrypted digital wallets presenting headaches for law enforcement.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter