Two European citizens have been charged with conspiring with Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith to help North Korea evade US sanctions by using cryptocurrency, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced. They conspired “to teach and advise members of the North Korean government on cutting-edge cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, all in an effort to evade U.S. sanctions.”
Virgil Griffith and Two Co-Conspirators at DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday that “two European citizens have been charged with conspiring with a US citizen to help North Korea evade US sanctions.”
The DOJ alleged that Spanish citizen Alejandro Cao de Benos and British citizen Christopher Emms “conspired with American Virgil Griffith to provide cryptocurrency and blockchain services to North Korea.”
Griffith, an Ethereum developer, was sentenced to more than five years in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The DOJ noted that Cao De Benos and Emms remain at large.
According to court documents, Cao De Benos and Emms recruited Griffith “to provide services to the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference and arranged for Griffith’s trip to the DPRK in April 2019 for this purpose, in violation of US sanctions. “.
The DOJ detailed:
Cao De Benos coordinated DPRK government approval for Griffith’s participation in the conference.
Furthermore, Emms told Griffith, “the DPRK will not stamp your passport,” saying he had “obtained a rare full permission” from the DPRK “for US citizens to enter the country” for the conference on the DPRK cryptocurrency, described the DOJ.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York explained that the defendants conspired with Griffith “to teach and advise members of the North Korean government on advanced cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, all in order to evade US sanctions designed to stop the North”. Korea’s hostile nuclear ambitions.
The Department of Justice stressed that at no time did Cao De Benos, Emms or Griffith obtain authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to supply goods, services or technology to the DPRK. . The DOJ concluded:
Cao De Benos and Emms are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate and evade US sanctions, in violation of the IEEPA, which carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.
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