Two Europeans are accused of fomenting a crypto conspiracy with North Korea

While Russia is on everyone’s lips and cryptocurrencies are singled out as the most productive way to get around budget constraints, another Asian country seems to want to get involved as well. It is a real crypto conspiracy that was foiled this week.

A project created with the help of Europeans

This is definitely still enough to tarnish the reputation of cryptocurrencies. According to the US newspaper Reuters, two Europeans have been convicted of helping North Korea evade financial sanctions using cryptocurrencies.

Alejandro Cao de Benos of Spain and Christopher Emms of the UK are both accused of plotting a conspiracy with Virgil Griffith, a computer scientist considered a true blockchain expert in the United States. The three acolytes are said to have approached North Korea by proposing the creation of several cryptocurrency services at home. However, the country has been singled out by the United States for several years after numerous nuclear tests considered a threat to international peace. To make Kim Jong-Un think, a system of economic sanctions had been put in place before being circumvented by Virgil Griffith and his friends.

Source: National Security Division, US Dept of Justice Twitter account

It is still unknown exactly how long the project has been on, although Virgil Griffith had already participated in several crypto events in North Korea in 2019. Regardless, his affinities with the North Korean government already made him worthy of getting some warnings from the US justice system. system. Virgil Griffith never wanted to hide his activities and it was his lack of discretion that led to his being discovered and convicted, much to the chagrin of Alejandro Cao de Benos and Christopher Emms.

If the US government finds out about our cryptocurrency activity in North Korea, they could fine you or even jail you! That’s why we have never told or made public what we do, unlike you. Please understand that your permission to enter North Korea was absolutely exceptional and made possible by my very personal guarantee (because I trust Chris and he trusts you).

Excerpt from an email from Alejandro Cao de Benos to Virgil Griffith

Unfortunately, the two Europeans didn’t know how to surround themselves with a confidant, as Griffith’s negligence, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison, also earned them the reprimands. For now, the choice of their captivity or not remains unresolved. As for the crypto sphere, it may suffer from this affair which will once again put the cruel label of criminal currency on it.

North Korea is a master of cryptocurrency theft

In addition to using decentralized currencies to get around major financial restrictions, North Korea is a true expert when it comes to extortion. Last February, the country was accused by the UN of stealing cryptocurrencies to fund its nuclear and ballistic experiments. According to Chainalysis, nearly $400 million worth of crypto was recovered through several highly effective attacks.

Source: Chainalysis Report on North Korea’s Crypto Theft Revenue

Charges again seized by the United States, which accuses North Korea of ​​stealing $540 million in early April by exploiting a flaw in the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity. It therefore appears that Kim Jong-Un’s territory, while very closed, is at the forefront of technologies related to the blockchain. By using the latter, North Korea would have racked up a juicy jackpot to the detriment of other countries in the world.


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