A crypto user who used Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase a luxury car is facing an 18-month prison term and a $3.7 million fine in Morocco as the country still considers the use of crypto illegal. According to a recent report by Euronews, the Casablanca Court of Appeal upheld the conviction of Thomas Clausi, a French citizen aged 21, on charges of fraud and illegal use of cryptocurrency.
Despite claims from Clausi’s lawyer, Mohamed Aghanaj, that the charges were confirmed last week, Moroccan laws are taking a stern stance against cryptocurrency usage. Clausi was arrested in 2021 for using BTC to purchase a Ferrari. The Moroccan customs deemed such an act as an illegal transfer of funds. He was imprisoned in December 2021 on charges of “fraud” and “use of foreign currency for payment within Moroccan borders.” A prison sentence and fine were handed down to Clausi in October of the same year.
| Un français a été condamné par la Chambre criminelle du tribunal de Casablanca à une peine de 18 mois de prison assortie d’une amende de 3,4 millions d’euros.
Il a été condamné pour escroquerie et d’usage illégal de crypto-monnaie.
Il a vendu sa Ferrari en échange de pic.twitter.com/ubk3m1p9UJ
— Moroccan History ۞ (@MoroccanSories) October 21, 2022
The legal case against Clausi initiated after a woman who lived in Casablanca accused him of “fraud” when he exchanged the luxury car for a Bitcoin payment of around $437,000. Aghanaj confirms that Clausi still has a month left to serve in prison.
Despite this, Morocco was ranked the number one Bitcoin trading country in North Africa in 2021 despite the crypto’s illegal status. According to Singapore based cryptocurrency provider and aggregator Triple A, roughly 900,000 individuals, who make up around 2.4% Morocco’s population, currently hold cryptocurrency.
However, the country has finalized a cryptocurrency regulatory framework in order to legally define crypto within its market, according to its central bank.