The FBI, the judicial police of the United States, has published this weekend a search and arrest warrant against Alejandro Cao de Benós (Tarragona, 1974), a Spaniard whom he accuses of helping the North Korean dictatorship to evade sanctions . On January 27, a New York court issued the warrant for his arrest, and considered him a fugitive from justice.
Now, as it usually does in cases of people fleeing from justice, the FBI has published his arrest warrant, in this case in English and Spanish, stating that "Alejandro Cao de Benós is known to live in Spain." He identifies him with three photographs and with two of his supposed pseudonyms: Cho Son-il and Jo Seon-il.
The FBI often cooperates closely with the Spanish police forces. In April, for example, the Civil Guard in Palma seized the yacht of a Russian tycoon sanctioned after the invasion of Ukraine, in coordination with the American judicial police.
The US Attorney's Office accuses Cao de Benós of being a participant in an alleged plot to evade the sanctions imposed by the US against the North Korean dictatorship, with the use of cryptocurrencies. He considers that Cao de Benós and another defendant, the British Christopher Emms, 30, facilitated an American engineer, Virgil Griffith, to travel to North Korea in April 2019 to participate in a congress known as the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, which they organized themselves.
According to the FBI, which has investigated the case, Emms and Griffith advised representatives of the North Korean dictatorship and other aides on how to use blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to evade US sanctions. .and launder money. Griffith, the engineer brought to North Korea, pleaded guilty in 2019 to helping North Korea evade sanctions, and was sentenced to 63 months in prison and fined $100,000.
The FBI believes that both Emms and Griffith exposed at the conference in Pyongyang how the North Korean dictatorship can use cryptocurrency providers to evade US sanctions, imposed for human rights violations and nuclear weapons development.
According to the Prosecutor's Office, Cao de Benós contacted the American engineer to develop a possible cryptocurrency infrastructure within North Korea. As part of these efforts, Cao de Benós was planning a second cryptocurrency conference in North Korea in 2020.
Cao de Benós became famous a few years ago in Spain for representing the interests of the Pyongyang regime in Europe, and according to what he has stated, he has dual North Korean nationality.
According to the Efe agency, he has dedicated himself to accompanying foreign journalists and investors to North Korea. In 1991 he went to the residence in Madrid of a North Korean tourism attaché to offer himself, as he himself would say in interviews, as a "soldier" of the dictator Kim il Sung's regime, whom he admired. In 2018 he was arrested in Tarragona in an operation against arms trafficking, and later released.
The charge he is charged with in a New York court is conspiracy to violate and evade US sanctions, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.