Brit who consulted North Korea on crypto reportedly detained in Moscow

The local bureau of Interpol detained a British citizen accused by the US Department of Justice in Moscow. He is suspected of conspiring to violate US sanctions on North Korea.

According to the local mass media On February 21, Christopher Emms was arrested in Moscow on an Interpol red notice. A 31-year-old British citizen was detained in the hostel where he lived.

In April 2022, Emms, along with Spanish citizen Alejandro Cao De Benos, allegedly gave instructions on how the DPRK could use blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies to launder money and evade sanctions. They planned and organized the 2019 Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.

The third conspirator is Virgil Griffith, a former Ethereum developer. He was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in November 2019, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 63 months in prison. In turn, Emms could face up to 20 years in prison on one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

North Korea stole more cryptocurrencies in 2022 than in any other year

Radha Sterling, founder of Due Process International, a non-governmental organization that helps defend human rights in the face of international law enforcement, formerly argued that there was no hard evidence against Emms:

“Precisely because he did nothing wrong; he has not provided North Korea with any information that has not yet appeared on the front page of Google.”

In September 2022, Saudi Arabia denied the US extradition request for lack of legal grounds and released Emms after an 8-month travel ban. He immediately left the country and fled to Russia. However, despite the fact that the country has also become the target of efforts by the Department of Justice to enforce financial sanctions in the crypto sector, it seems that the local security forces have decided to help their American counterparts.

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