US Charges Ethereum Dev’s Conspirators Allegedly Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions Using Crypto

US Charges 2 Europeans Allegedly Conspiring With Ethereum Developer to Help North Korea Evade Sanctions Using Crypto

Two European citizens have been charged for conspiring with Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith to help North Korea evade U.S. sanctions using cryptocurrency, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced. They conspiredto teach and advise members of the North Korean government on cutting-edge cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, all for the purpose of evading U.S. sanctions.

Virgil Griffith and Two Co-Conspirators at DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference

Соединенные штаты. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday thattwo European citizens have been charged for conspiring with a U.S. citizen to assist North Korea in evading U.S. sanctions.

The DOJ alleged that Spanish citizen Alejandro Cao de Benos and British citizen Christopher Emmsconspired 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 he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The DOJ noted that both Cao De Benos and Emms remain at large.

According to court documents, Cao De Benos and Emms recruited Griffithto provide services at the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference and arranged Griffiths travel to the DPRK in April 2019 for this purpose, in contravention of U.S. sanctions.

The DOJ detailed:

Cao De Benos coordinated approval from the DPRK government for Griffiths participation in the conference.

Кроме того, Emms told Griffith, “the DPRK will not stamp your passport,” claiming that he hadobtained a rare full permissionfrom the DPRKfor U.S. citizens to enter the countryfor the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, the DOJ described.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York explained that the defendants conspired with Griffithto teach and advise members of the North Korean government on cutting-edge cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, all for the purpose of evading U.S. sanctions meant to stop North Koreas hostile nuclear ambitions.

The Justice Department stressed that at no time did Cao De Benos, Emms, or Griffith obtain permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to provide goods, Сервисы, or technology to the DPRK. The DOJ concluded:

Cao De Benos and Emms are charged with one count of conspiring to violate and evade U.S. sanctions, in violation of IEEPA, which carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison.

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