DOJ Charges Two Individuals for Allegedly Aiding Ethereum Developer in Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging two Europeans with conspiracy to violate US sanctions on North Korea with former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith.

According to a new DOJ press release, Spanish citizen Alejandro Cao De Benos and Christopher Emms of the United Kingdom are being sought for helping Griffith provide blockchain support to North Korea.

Earlier this year, Griffith plead guilty to conspiring to assist the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to avoid international economic sanctions with blockchain technology. Griffith was sentenced earlier this month to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.

As for Griffith’s alleged international co-conspirators, the suspects still remain at large.

Says US Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York,

“As alleged, Alejandro Cao de Benos and Christopher Emms conspired with Virgil Griffith, a cryptocurrency expert convicted of conspiring to violate economic sanctions imposed on North Korea, to 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 Korea’s hostile nuclear ambitions.

In his own sales pitch, Emms allegedly advised North Korean officials that cryptocurrency technology made it ‘possible to transfer money across any country in the world regardless of what sanctions or any penalties that are put on any country.’ The sanctions imposed against North Korea are critical in protecting the security interests of Americans, and we continue to aggressively enforce them with our law enforcement partners both here and abroad.”

Cao De Benos and Emms are also accused of conspiring with Griffith to provide crypto and blockchain technology services to North Korea, including the development of crypto infrastructure equipment, the brokering introductions to other cryptocurrency service providers, and recruiting individuals to assist the country in crypto technology development.

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