Two Europeans In Connection With The Virgil Griffith North Korea Sanctions Case Have Been Charged In The United States
By recruiting Virgil Griffith to offer crypto and blockchain services to North Korea, the two reportedly colluded to breach sanctions.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, two men have been charged with conspiring with former Ethereum software developer Virgil Griffith to aid North Korea in evading US sanctions.
Virgil Griffith was allegedly recruited by Spanish citizen Alejandro Cao de Benos and UK citizen Christopher Emms to offer crypto and blockchain technology services to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2019.
Griffith was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of traveling to North Korea to make a presentation based on publicly available material regarding open-source software. At his sentencing hearing earlier this month, Griffith said he had learnt his lesson.
The duo is said to have planned a “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference” for the benefit of the DPRK, and Griffith is said to have been hired to help out at the event. According to the announcement, Cao de Benos coordinated approval from the DPRK administration for Griffith’s participation.
Griffith had knowingly violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, according to the US, which has economic sanctions against the DPRK due to the country’s repeated testing of forbidden nuclear-capable missiles.
Without special approval from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, US citizens are prohibited from exporting goods, services, or technology to the DPRK.
US Attorney Damian Williams said:
“As alleged, Alejandro Cao de Benos and Christopher Emms conspired with Virgil Griffith…to teach and advise members of the North Korean government on cutting-edge cryptocurrency and blockchain technology all for the purpose of evading US sanctions meant to stop North Korea’s hostile nuclear ambitions,”
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