A United States district court has charged two European citizens in connection to a blockchain and cryptocurrency conference in North Korea which violated U.S. sanctions back in 2019. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the court documents allege that Alejandro Cao De Benos, a citizen of Spain, and Christopher Emms, a citizen of the United Kingdom, conspired to violate U.S. sanctions on North Korea when they jointly planned and organized the 2019 Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.

The pair allegedly worked with former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith to provide instruction on how the DPRK could use blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to launder money and evade sanctions. Later, the three continued to provide additional cryptocurrency and blockchain services to the sanctioned nation by seeking to help them build cryptocurrency infrastructure and equipment.

Griffith is well known in the cryptocurrency space for his extensive work on the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform during its early years. He was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in November 2019 for his connection to the conference and pleaded guilty in September last year for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)

On April 12, he was sentenced to 63 months in prison and slapped with a $100,000 fine.

The indictment also alleges that Cao De Benos and Emms recruited Griffith to speak at the DPRK conference and arranged his travel to the DPRK in 2019 for this purpose. It also alleges that Cao De Benos coordinated with the DPRK government for…


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