UK Law Enforcers Accuse Hospitality Worker of Laundering $2.5M Bitcoin

Spanish Man Faces 20 Years Imprisonment for Assisting North Koreans in Violating US Sanctions

In a recent report, Spanish law enforcers confirmed the arrest of Alejandro Cao de Bens for violating existing laws. The police report revealed that the Spanish national was arrested for training the North Koreans in advanced techniques to bypass the US sanctions.

After the long pursuit to apprehend Mr Cao de Bens, a spokesperson from the National Police of Spain stated that the criminal was arrested at Madrid train station on Friday, December 1.

North Korean Seeks to Violate US Sanctions

Despite the failed attempts to arrest Cao de Bens, the police spokesperson recognized the collaborative approach embraced by the Interpol and Spanish law enforcers to bring down the suspect.

He confessed that in an earlier report, the Interpol team had alerted the Spanish regulator of the whereabouts of  Cao de Bens. According to the report, the Interpol team suspected the suspect resided in Spain.

The Interpol early warning compelled the Spanish regulators to take decisive action to hunt down Cao de Bens. After an extensive crime investigation that involved thorough police checks, the Spanish authority discovered that the criminal was travelling to Madrid from Barcelona.

Immediately after reaching the Madrid train station, the Spanish police arrested the suspect. A review of the police finding demonstrated that Cao de Bens was travelling with fake documents.

Strategies Adopted to Bypass the Western Sanction

Besides fake travel documents the suspect was facing a litany of criminal charges with the US regulators. In 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) accused Cao de Bens of providing illegal crypto and blockchain products to the North Koreans.

The FBI report illustrated that Cao de Bens had collaborated with the US national Virgil Griffiths to bypass the Western sanction. Guided by the existing laws, a judge at the US court ordered Griffiths to be placed behind bars for 63 months and settle a penalty amounting to $100,000.

The court report demonstrated that Griffiths violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act with his closest ally, Cao de Bens. The arrest of Griffiths attracted the attention of the US regulatory agencies led by officials from the Office of Public Affairs.

The official suspected Griffiths knew that the  North Korea could evade US sanctions. The revelation of Griffiths and  Cao de Bens unlawful activities created speculations among the US  regulators.

According to the press release, the Office of Public Affairs suspected that North Korea would engage in unlawful activities to breach the Western sanctions to source funding for its nuclear weapon project.

Global Regulators Teams Up to Address Evasion of US Sanctions

In 2018, Cao de Bens faced similar charges after the regulators flagged some of the activities of Korean Friendship Association. At that time, the suspect was accused of organizing crypto events in North Korea, which violated the US sanctions.

Reportedly, the US levied the sanctions against the countries that posed a threat to the national security. The significance of Western sanctions aimed at shielding the US economy from erosion that could leave the country in a devastating condition. To prevent the evasion of the existing sanction, the US vowed to take potential action against the non-compliant individuals or businesses.

Consequences of Violation of Western Sanctions

Following the multiple charges facing  Cao de Bens, the Spanish police projects that the suspect will receive a 20-year jail sentence.

During his arraignment, Cao de Bens vehemently refuted claims of his involvement in violating the US sanctions. He described the accusation filed by the Spanish law enforcers as totally false.

The embattled political activist confessed that the allegation presented by the Interpol, FBI and the Spanish police lacked substantial evidence to demonstrate how  Cao de Bens and Griffith facilitated the evasion of the US sanction in North Korea.

Besides the involvement of  Cao de Bens in violation of the existing sanction, North Korean illicit groups have been preying on the crypto industry to launch malicious attacks.

A recent Wall Street report illustrated that since 2018, the North Korean hackers have heisted crypto assets worth approximately $3 billion. The report stated that the hackers  embraced creative approaches to commit one of the major financial crimes in history. Among the reported cases, the WSJ report indicated that the hackers also launched fraudulent crypto investments to steal from the public.

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