Two brothers in Rotterdam in the Netherlands alleged to have stolen electricity to power a bitcoin mining operation in 2014 face months in prison, if prosecutors get their way.
In the first case of its kind in the Netherlands, prosecutors are seeking prison time for two brothers who engaged in a bitcoin mining operation fueled by stolen electricity.
According to a local news report, one of the two unnamed brothers, aged 39 and 43, owned the property where the mining operation took place. The operation took place in 2014 while prosecutors at the District Court of Rotterdam alleged yesterday that the brothers had mined bitcoins worth nearly 200,000 euros, approx. 223,000 USD.
The Openbaar Ministerie, the official website of the Public Prosecution Service in Netherlands further added that the bitcoin mining rigs were found in the premises of a cannabis farm, which had produced at least two harvests. The power was stolen from Stedin, an electricity utility company in Rotterdam.
According to local publication AD, Prosecutors point to the younger brother as the instigator behind the operation that saw energy theft for the bitcoin mining operation. Furthermore, returns from the cannabis farm helped with the purchase of mining equipment for 14,000 euros in 2013, the prosecution claimed.
Both brothers are formally charged with money laundering, OM revealed. The younger brother, who is also the owner of the property housing the cannabis farm, sees up to 15 months in prison, with the added charge for the cultivation of cannabis. The older brother, who faces the charge of money laundering alone, could see five months in prison.
De Gelderlander, a local publication that reported on yesterday’s court proceedings revealed that the younger brother still had a portion of mined bitcoins stored in his digital wallet, while some of the bitcoins were converted into euros. The OM is also pressing for a fine of 248,000 euros from the younger brother, which would be levied if he is convicted.
A decision from the District court is expected in two weeks.
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