US prosecutors arrest man for teaching North Korea about Bitcoin (BTC)
United States prosecutors arrested Virgil Griffith, who traveled to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to deliver a presentation on how to use cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to bypass sanctions.
Virgil Griffith was arrested on 29th November at Los Angeles International Airport. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement,
“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.”
DPRK has been under the sanctions by the US since the 1990s. The sanctions were tightened in 2013 after DPRK conducted its 3rd Nuclear test. International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) prohibits any US citizen from exporting any goods, services, or technology to the DPRK without a license.
Virgil Griffith, a US citizen, previously applied to travel DPRK to give a presentation on Bitcoin to North Korea. He was denied permission. But Griffith still went to DPRK to the cryptocurrency conference.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. 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.”
According to sources, Virgil Griffith could face up to 20 years in prison for violating the sanctions.
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