FBI arrests Ethereum expert accused of assisting North Korea in evading US sanctions

nanoguy

TS Addict
Staff member

To put things in context, Virgil was previously denied permission to travel to North Korea and even warned multiple times about the consequences of such an act. Despite that, he went there earlier this year and gave a technical talk at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.

In a press release, the US Department of Justice explains that in doing so, Virgil "jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime."

The FBI says the sanctions were put in place specifically for preventing malicious actors from funding and informing their weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. However, Virgil traveled to North Korea in April this year and reportedly discussed how the country could use cryptocurrency to evade such restrictions and "launder money."

To make matters worse, he also described plans to streamline the exchange of cryptocurrency between North Korea and South Korea, which would also violate US sanctions. Then he reportedly invited other US citizens to travel to the country as well to attend the conference in the coming years.

US authorities also obtained information that Virgil had been seeking to give up his US citizenship and researching options for asylum or citizenship in other countries.

The odds are against Virgil being able to prove innocent, especially after he was warned about the consequences of going to North Korea. That said, some have already called for a petition to free him, arguing that his intentions were mainly about bridging the two Koreas.

Earlier this year, a leaked UN report showed North Korea has already stolen billions of dollars through cyberattacks to fund its weapons program. As cryptocurrency becomes more popular, security researchers report that $3.1 billion have already been stolen at crypto exchanges this year, a figure expected to climb to over $4 billion by the end of the year.

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mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Not sure how cryptocurrency would "bridge" North and South Korea in a good way...
In theory, when two markets use the same currency, they become linked together as one market: see the Eurozone.

In practice, when there is a huge disparity between market sizes, and the smaller market really only gains the benefit of stability - but not necessarily liquidity: see Zimbabwe using the USD as their official currency.

Its more likely that NK trying to link their market to SK via cryptos would result in deficit of 'cash' in NK.
 

Markoni35

TS Maniac
ROFL. After the top world thieves, some of them based on Wall Street, some of them being richest people in the world, have robbed entire world in 2018 (remember the BitCoin scam that robbed the entire world) they are now arresting a minor player that stole a few millions.

How about arresting the world financiers, banks and funds that stole 500 BILLIONS from the unsuspecting crypto-currency buyers? Or the media that advertised BTC when it was artificially rising. How about arresting the shareholders of Goldman Sachs, the most criminal bank in the world? Nope, let's arrest a minor computer expert who is totally irrelevant. He must be guilty for the most criminal act of the century, the 2008 world crisis, LOL. Yeah, get him.

A nice example of misdirection of attention.
 

brucek

TS Guru
For starters, it sounds like the government plans to prove in court that he violated specific laws.

Whereas your raving about "world financiers banks and funds" sounds like generalized grumbling devoid not only of any specific proof but even any specific alleged crimes at all.

And to the extent it is true that North Korea is behind some of the big ransomware schemes that have mucked up hospitals, police departments, stores as well as lots of regular people, I'm all for something being done about it.
 

treetops

TS Evangelist
Lol it almost sounds like they simply didn't know about crypto currency, "oh we don't have to use the global market on strangle hold by the USA? noice!" -nk

Not that I like NK, it's just interesting.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Lol it almost sounds like they simply didn't know about crypto currency, "oh we don't have to use the global market on strangle hold by the USA? noice!" -nk

Not that I like NK, it's just interesting.
Kim Jong Un is a bonafide sociopath. Raised by a totalitarian dictator to assume full and absolute control over North Korea. He was more than likely never said "NO" to, in his entire life. His background and birthright are in diametric opposition to creating what we would term as a "normal human being".

Japan launched its attack on pearl Harbor as a prelude "to conquering the world for the glory of the emperor".

Please take a moment to explain to me how this psychopath's narrative, ambitions, delusions of grandeur, aspirations, and ulterior motives, could possibly be any different.

History ignored is destined to repeat itself.
 
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