Despite the efforts by the Canadian government, most of the CAD 1.1m (USD 874,000) worth of cryptoasset donations made to the trucker protests (aka “Freedom Convoy”), an initiative that evolved out of the anti-COVID-19 health mandate protests, have reportedly dodged seizure by the authorities.
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Five weeks after Canada’s government invoked the Emergencies Act in a bid to freeze the convoy’s assets, a joint operation run by the Ottawa Police Service (OPS), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) continues to seek the recovery of bitcoin (BTC) used to support the convoy.
However, local observers say those efforts have not hampered the protests’ supporters to fund the convoy with crypto donations, local broadcaster CBC reported.
To date, Canadian law enforcement have managed to freeze some BTC 5.96405398 in donations, which represents about 29% of the total. The remaining 71% of crypto assets have been rerouted to protect them from seizure by the state authorities.
The RCMP has moved to blacklist an estimated 34 crypto wallets associated with the convoy, and ordered Canadian crypto exchanges to stop facilitating transactions.
Despite this, Canadian media have identified a wallet containing BTC 3 that was emptied within days, moving the funds to an unflagged account. The same account received close to BTC 15 on February 16, two days after the government invoked the Emergencies Act, and that total was subsequently redistributed across other accounts in BTC 0.004 increments.
“There’s a huge limitation, as we’ve seen, with freeze orders when they relate to cryptocurrency wallets,” Mathew Burgoyne, a Canadian crypto-focused lawyer based in Calgary, is quoted as saying.
One of the organizers of the convoy, Nicholas St. Louis, was recorded while handing out an envelope believed to contain data for accessing CAD 8,000 worth of bitcoin to an anti-COVID-19 health mandate protester on February 16.
The news outlet reported that the RCMP has refused to comment on this case, but it issued a statement in which it points to its past successes with prosecuting crypto-related criminal activities.
“As part of its capabilities and plans to tackle crypto crime and track crime-related transactions, the RCMP generally uses a variety of police procedures, as well as collaborating with applicable law enforcement partners,” the force said.
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