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Briton detained in Moscow may have crypto links to North Korea 

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A British man allegedly linked to North Korea evading sanctions using crypto has been detained in Moscow.

North Korean ties could lead to a 20 year sentence

Christopher Emms, a 31-year-old British citizen, was arrested on Feb. 21 in Moscow after a “red notice” from Interpol, as local media reported. Notably, the Brit was detained in a hostel he resided in at the time.

Earlier, Emms faced accusations for providing instructions detailing how North Korea could use blockchain and crypto to evade sanctions and money laundering in April 2022.

Working with him was Alejandro Cao De Benos, a Spanish national, whereby they both planned and organized the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference back in 2019.

The two were also working with a former Ethereum developer, Virgil Griffith, who was given a 63-month sentence after an FBI arrest in 2019. 

Emms was arrested by the Saudi authorities earlier, but he was released since they found no substantial evidence to support the allegations after an 8-month travel ban. After his release, he left the country immediately for Russia. Well, the authorities have caught him again.

If Emms is found guilty of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, he could serve up to 20 years.

Russia is helping with enforcement

The U.S. DoJ has been working with Russia to issue justice despite the ongoing investigations targeting the country. The local officers worked together with their American counterparts in arresting Emms.

Charles McGonigal, 54, was accused of working with Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska last month.

Former Russian diplomat Sergey Sheshtakov was also mentioned in the scheme. He allegedly worked with McGonigal in 2021 for Deripaska to investigate an unnamed rival, a Russian oligarch.

Another ongoing case is the charges against a U.K. businessman and his Russian partner, which entail evasion of U.S. sanctions.

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