A cryptocurrency expert has helped North Korea evade US sanctions. The punishment received


Virgil Griffith, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy last year, admitting that he made a presentation at a cryptocurrency conference in Pyongyang in 2019, even after the US government denied his request to travel there.

A well-known hacker, Griffith, also developed “cryptocurrency infrastructure and equipment inside North Korea,” prosecutors wrote in court documents. At the 2019 conference, he advised more than 100 people, including some who appeared to be working for the North Korean government, on how to use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions and gain independence from the global banking system. AP.

The United States and the UN Security Council have imposed increasingly severe sanctions on North Korea in recent years in an attempt to curb its nuclear and ballistic programs. The US government amended sanctions against North Korea in 2018 to ban “anyone in the US, no matter where they are” from exporting technology to North Korea.

Prosecutors said Griffith acknowledged that his presentation meant a transfer of technical knowledge to conference attendees.

“Griffith is an American citizen who has chosen to evade sanctions in his own country in order to provide services to a hostile foreign power,” prosecutors wrote. “He did this knowing that that power – North Korea – was guilty of atrocities against its own people and made threats against the United States, citing its nuclear capabilities.”

Defense attorney Brian Klein described Griffith as a “brilliant Caltech-trained scientist who developed a borderline obsession with North Korea.” “He saw himself – though arrogant and naive – as acting in the interests of peace,” Klein said. “He loves his country and has never set out to do any harm.”

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