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Founder of Pro-North Korea Group Arrested in Spain over U.S. Charges

Alejandro Cao de Benos, a flamboyant Spanish aristocrat and founder of the pro-North Korea group Korea Friendship Association (KFA), was arrested in Madrid last week on U.S. charges related to cryptocurrency technology. Despite his release a day later, the saga highlights the complex web of international sanctions, political agendas, and alleged illicit activities surrounding North Korea.

Cao de Benos was on the FBI’s wanted list since mid year for aiding North Korea. (Image Source: NK News)

U.S. authorities accused Cao de Benos of advising North Korea’s leadership on cutting-edge cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, potentially aiding them in bypassing sanctions. He also allegedly helped organise conferences on the topic, collaborating with convicted American researcher Virgil Griffith. These actions could land him 20 years in prison if convicted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

Following his release, Cao de Benos vehemently denied the charges. He claims the IEEPA doesn’t apply to Spain, making extradition impossible. He also dismissed Spanish media’s portrayal of him as a “fugitive,” despite his lack of a passport and previous travel restrictions.

His claims of political persecution resonate with his co-accused, Christopher Emms. Currently residing in Moscow after receiving asylum, Emms also denies the charges, arguing the law only applies to U.S. citizens. Both men see the U.S. actions as politically motivated attempts to silence their pro-North Korea stance.

Cao de Benos’ alleged involvement with North Korea extends far beyond cryptocurrency. A 2020 U.N. report accused him of facilitating a North Korean joint venture, violating sanctions. The documentary “The Mole” further tarnished his reputation, showcasing his alleged involvement in arms sales, drug deals, and gold mining projects for Pyongyang. Despite arrests and incriminating footage, Cao de Benos has yet to face charges related to these accusations.

Image Source: IMDb

The arrest has sparked debates about Cao de Benos’ fate. While “The Mole” actor Ulrich Larsen welcomes the news, he expresses doubt about the extradition’s success. He paints a picture of Cao de Benos as a narcissistic opportunist who justifies everything for personal gain and sees North Korea as above the law.

Cao de Benos’ arrest sheds light on the complex interplay of international sanctions, political agendas, and personal motivations regarding North Korea. Whether he faces U.S. justice or not, his case leaves behind a trail of unanswered questions and reaffirms his controversial image as a man who thrives in the grey areas between legality and ideology.

* Original content written by Coinlive. Coinbold is licensed to distribute this content by Coinlive.