North Korea successfully using cryptos to evade US sanctions

Date: 10:57, 25-09-2018.

Almaty. September 25. KazTAG - North Korea is increasingly using crypto-currencies to successfully circumvent US sanctions, according to two Washington-based experts.
Lourdes Miranda, an independent financial intelligence analyst and a financial crimes investigator who specializes in intelligence collection and analysis, and Ross Delston, an independent Washington-based attorney and expert witness who specializes in anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance matters, said it was also likely that Pyongyang was both trading with established crypto-currencies and also creating its own.
“International criminals everywhere prefer crypto-currencies and the DPRK is no exception. Crypto-currencies have the added advantage to the DPRK of giving them more ways to circumvent US sanctions. They can do so by using multiple international exchangers, mixing and shifting services – mirroring the money laundering cycle – to exploit international financial institutions that have correspondent banking relationships with the United States,” the pair said in a joint written response to Asia Times questions.
“DPRK can create their own crypto-currencies or use established ones like Bitcoin. Having their own crypto-currency would also facilitate their ability to open online accounts under the guise of a non-adversarial nation using anonymous communication to conceal the user’s locations and usage on the internet,” they added.
Is it possible that DPRK as part of creating its own crypto-currency could create its own blockchain to manipulate their own public record of transactions? Yes, the pair said, and this would be done in order “to appear that transactions are coming from legitimate sources.”
Taking this one step further, Miranda and Delston made it clear that the DPRK could create its own online wallet services – virtual bank accounts – that store, receive and send crypto-currencies into European online wallets that have limited or no Personally Identifiable Information (PII) requirements and/or do not have US sanctions imposed against them.
“Wallets create both public and private keys for security and privacy purposes,” they said. “For example, DPRK could open an online wallet using a Russia-based service, transfer its crypto-currency into a Bulgaria-based wallet service and then transfer it again into a Greece-based wallet service, all through anonymous communication and using their own blockchain.”

Photo source: picture from an open source

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