The National Police yesterday arrested the controversial Alejandro Cao de Benós, founder of the Friendship Association with Korea and linked to North Korea, who was wanted by the FBI for a crime of fraud by allegedly helping the North Korean regime to evade economic sanctions imposed by the North American administration.

However, hours later he was released, as EL MUNDO has been able to confirm. The volunteer diplomat from North Korea was detained in Atocha.

Cao de Benós, who could face a 20-year prison sentence for acts committed in 2018, was arrested at 3:00 p.m. yesterday Thursday at the Puerta de Atocha station after getting off a train from Barcelona.

According to the General Directorate of the National Police, in mid-October, the agents of the Fugitive Location Group received information from Interpol indicating that the person claimed by the US could be in Spain.

The facts for which the FBI ordered his arrest last May date back to 2018, when the fugitive founded the “Friendship Association with North Korea.”

According to the FBI, Cao de Benós, 47, born in Tarragona, facilitated the trip to North Korea of ​​Virgil Griffith, the former developer of the Ethereum cryptocurrency, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to help North Korea. to evade sanctions and was sentenced in the US to more than five years in prison and a fine of $100,000.

The FBI accuses Cao de Benós of taking “measures to conceal these activities from US authorities.”

The facts for which his arrest was ordered date back to 2018, when the fugitive founded the “Friendship Association with North Korea.” He allegedly organized several conferences on cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the North Korean capital, with the help of an American citizen who is an expert in cryptocurrencies, thereby bypassing the sanctions ban imposed by the United States.

In a statement released by himself on social networks after learning that he was wanted and captured in May, Cao de Benós denied these accusations and also that he was a “fugitive”, since he had not been able to leave Spain for “six years”, with his “passport retained and signed every Monday in the courts of Vendrell (Tarragona) by order of former investigating judge Jorge Basterra Pérez de los Cobos, in relation to an accusation of illicit possession of weapons.