The FBI arrested an Ethereum developer who was in cahoots with North Korea to evade sanctions. US Arrests Ethereum Developer for Dodging North Korean Sanctions.
Virgil Griffith, 36, is a Singapore resident and a US citizen. He was accused of conspiring to breach the IEEPA, which has a total prison term of 20 years.
The FBI announced the unsealing of a criminal complaint accusing Virgil Griffith of breaking the law by travelling to North Korea to provide a briefing and technical advice on the use of cryptocurrency and blockchain software to circumvent sanctions.
US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:
“As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions. In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”
William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI, said in a statement that it is very dangerous to allow anyone to avoid sanctions because of the repercussions of acquiring financial support, technology and information in order to advance their desire to build nuclear weapons will put the world at risk.
The State Department had denied Griffith’s permission to travel to DPRK, but Griffith still attended the Cryptocurrency conference.
Griffith, along with other participants, shared their thoughts on how the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency could help launder money and avoid sanctions, at the North Korea Cryptocurrency Conference.
Griffith urged many US citizens to travel to North Korea, encouraging them to attend the same DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference next year.