Spanish Police Arrest Alleged Crypto Conspirator Linked to North Korea

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Spanish Police Arrest Crypto Conspirator
  • Spanish authorities have apprehended Alejandro Cao de Benos over a U.S.-linked crypto conspiracy.
  • The case resulted from his alleged connival with crypto researcher Virgil Griffith to unlawfully offer crypto services to North Korea.
  • Nonetheless, Cao de Benos has been released while awaiting the U.S. to formalize its extradition request.

Spanish authorities announced the arrest of Alejandro Cao de Benos, a Spanish national sought by the United States in connection with an alleged crypto conspiracy involving North Korea. The development was captured in a recent report by Reuters, noting the arrest occurred on Thursday at Atocha train station in Madrid.

For context, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Alejandro Cao de Benos, the founder of a pro-Pyongyang affinity organization, in 2022. The charge resulted from his alleged connival with crypto researcher Virgil Griffith to unlawfully offer crypto and blockchain technology services to North Korea. Griffith had previously been sentenced to five years and three months in prison in 2022 for his role in the conspiracy.

According to Reuters, Spanish national police revealed that Cao de Benos was discovered in Barcelona using a false identity and was apprehended en route to Madrid. Meanwhile, following the arrest, Cao de Benos appeared before a High Court judge on Friday. 

However, the judge released him without conditions while awaiting the extradition process. The judicial source emphasized that the United States needs to formalize the extradition request and submit the necessary documentation.

On the other hand, Reuters noted that in a post on social media platform X on Friday, Cao de Benos refuted the U.S. allegations. Cao de Benos, facing a potential 20-year prison sentence if convicted, expressed confidence in his innocence. He stated on X, “There is no extradition. Besides being false, the US accusation does not exist in Spain.” Notably, Reuters stated that the identity of Cao de Benos’ legal representation remains unknown as of now.

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