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Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) released a statement following the sentencing of an American cryptocurrency expert by a U.S. Federal Court to more than five years in federal prison for helping North Korea evade U.S. sanctions using cryptocurrency technologies.

“Emerging technologies like cryptocurrency offer many positive applications like humanitarian relief, but the administration has not kept pace in ensuring this novel form of currency is not used to the detriment of U.S. national security. Punishing criminals is a good first step, but I urge the administration to develop a robust strategy to stop bad actors from using cryptocurrency to evade U.S. sanctions.”

Last month, Lead Republican McCaul sent a letter to President Biden raising concerns about the potential abuse of emerging technologies like cryptocurrency by Russia to evade sanctions, citing an expected UN report on North Korea using stolen cryptocurrencies to fund its nuclear program.  After receiving no response from the administration, Lead Republican McCaul sent a similar letter to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Director Haines after her testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence pressing for clear answers from the administration on how it will deal with cryptocurrency-related sanctions evasion.  Finally, earlier this month, Lead Republican McCaul joined House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) to introduce the Russia Cryptocurrency Transparency Act, which has subsequently passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on a bipartisan basis. This bill, among other things, will ensure the U.S. is taking the necessary steps to prevent these emerging technologies from being used to evade U.S. sanctions.