Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum developer, pleads guilty to a conspiracy charge in the North Korea sanctions case

  • Griffith was accused of breaking the law by providing cryptocurrency presentations
  • Griffith admitted to one count of conspiring to break the International Emergency Economic Powers Act
  • He also consented to a forfeiture clause, though no details were available at the time of publication

Griffith was charged in 2019 with breaking sanctions by giving a lecture on bitcoin and blockchain at a North Korean conference. In an accord with federal prosecutors, Virgil Griffith, the Ethereum developer charged with breaking US sanctions legislation, has pled guilty. Griffith pleaded guilty in a New York tribunal on Monday to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He could spend 63 to 78 months in prison if he accepts the plea offer. In January 2022, he will be sentenced.

After giving a lecture on cryptocurrencies and blockchain at a North Korean cryptocurrency conference in April of that year, the developer was jailed in November of that year. He also consented to a forfeiture clause, though no details were available at the time of publication. Griffith’s earnings from the presentation will be forfeited, according to a 2019 charging document.

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Griffith was released on bond in 2020, but he is currently incarcerated on charges of attempting to violate his bail restrictions. Griffith attempted to use his Coinbase holdings to pay his counsel earlier this summer, but prosecutors claimed he did so in violation of his agreement. Griffith’s lawyers requested that he be transferred from Metropolitan Correctional Center to Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, N.J., after he entered a guilty plea, citing extremely challenging conditions at MCC, which is notorious for being antiquated and hazardous for inmates.

Griffith, who is known for his outgoing demeanor, was solemn and tearful in court. Griffith stated he had been conducting daily meditational training and was vividly aware of how bad he was feeling when asked by the court how he was feeling.

The IEEPA fee

He was accused of breaking two executive orders that ban certain types of transactions and operations in North Korea, including the export of services by Americans. Griffith qualifies as a U.S. person since he is a U.S. citizen, despite the fact that his primary residence prior to his arrest was in Singapore.

A presentation Griffith gave at a North Korean conference was the focus of the claims. While the details of the presentation have not been revealed, attorneys who have commented on the issue have suggested that much of the information may already be public.

However, it’s possible that this didn’t matter to the prosecution. The accord reached on Monday brings to a close nearly two years of legal wrangling between the prosecution and Griffith’s attorneys. According to public papers, defense attorneys constantly asked for clarification on the accusations being presented. Griffith’s plea agreement surprised both prosecutors and his defense team, who had been ready for a trial. The jury was chosen on Monday morning. According to court documents, the decision to reach a plea agreement was made over the weekend.

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Andrew Smith
Andrew is a blockchain developer who developed his interest in cryptocurrencies while his post-graduation. He is a keen observer of details and shares his passion for writing along with being a developer. His backend knowledge about blockchain helps him give a unique perspective to his writing

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