DoJ Aid to NK re Sanctions Evasion
On Nov. 29, DoJ made arrest re advice to NK to evade sanctions.
- US citizen Virgil Griffith was arrested for a presentation in North Korea on evasion of sanctions using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology thereby violating the IEEPA.
- Despite State Dept. denying him permission, in 2019, Griffith traveled to the DPRK to attend and present at the “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference”.
- At the conference, Griffith and other attendees discussed how the DPRK could use blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to launder money and evade sanctions.
- Griffith explained the benefits of a “smart contract,” that could be utilized by the DPRK.
- Several attendees who appeared to work for the government, asked Griffith specific questions about blockchain and cryptocurrency and aspects of those technologies.
- After the conference, he began plans to facilitate the exchange of cryptocurrency between the DPRK and South Korea, despite knowing he was violating NK sanctions.
- Griffith encouraged other US citizens to attend the same conference the following year.
- Finally, he gave his intention to renounce US citizenship and buy one from elsewhere.
- Maximum term of 20 years is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for information only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
- Nov. 28, Griffith was arrested at LAX and will be presented in federal court on Nov. 29.
- Dec. 2019 Criminal Charges
- On Dec. 2, 2019, DoJ announced charges unsealed against Griffith for violating IEEPA.
- Per criminal complaint, IEEPA and EO 13466 prohibit US persons from exporting any goods, services, or technology to North Korea; Griffith accused of conspiracy to violate.
||Bank; Corp; MSB
||PR, 12/2/2019; LR, PR, 11/29/2019; IEEPA; EO 13466
||AML; Compliance; Financial; Legal; Technology
||North Korea (DPRK); United States of America; Cross-Border
|Reg. Last Update
||AML & Enforcement
Last substantive update on 12/02/2019