One American citizen has been recently arrested in North Korea, after presenting the benefits of cryptocurrency and blockchain in the country. The American arrested for this crime allegedly traveled to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) with an attempt to deliver a presentation on how to use crypto and blockchain technology to circumvent sanctions.
An announcement from November 29 shows that the 36-year old Virgil Griffith was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport and will be charged with conspiracy to violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). These charges carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison, according to US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, who said:
“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.”
The American arrested for this crime has been sentenced. The IEEPA rules are simple – US citizens cannot export any goods, services or technology to the DPRK without a license from the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Griffith is a United States citizen who is living in Singapore. He was previously denied permission to travel to the DPRK by the US Department of State. Right now, the blockchain news show that he went against the decision and presented the perks of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, violating the US sanctions against the DPRK.
There is a full statement by the FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge named William F. Sweeney Jr. who spoke about how the American arrested for this crime was charged. He said:
“There are deliberate reasons sanctions have been levied on North Korea. The country and its leader pose a literal threat to our national security and that of our allies. Mr. Griffith allegedly traveled to North Korea without permission from the federal government, and with the knowledge of what he was doing was against the law. We cannot allow anyone to evade sanctions, because the consequences of North Korea obtaining funding, technology, and information to further its desire to build nuclear weapons put the world at risk. It’s even more egregious that a U.S. citizen allegedly chose to aid our adversary.”
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