FORMER ETHEREUM DEVELOPER, VIRGIL GRIFFITH GRANTED BAIL IN NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS CASE

Arrests

The prosecution tried to establish that with his dark web ties and connections, Griffith could easily escape – and were shot down by the Judge who stated that the accused turned himself in and does not present as a flight risk



A developer for Ethereum who recently got into trouble for travelling illegally and sharing sensitive information with North Korea has been recently granted bail in a New York court.

Virgil Griffith, 36, who had just been denied bail late December, appealed the decision and is now being let out on bail following a bond agreement demanding $1 million dollars in guarantor assets including his father and his sister’s homes.

His case has garnered attention due to the Attorney General's assertion that Griffith shared information that was too sensitive for comfort with North Korea, and tying that in with his broad expertise in the areas of crypto and blockchain information he did so to assist the Communist state to avoid international sanctions.

This, if it stands in trial would mean Griffith would be in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). So far, the agreement stipulates that he will be granted access to email his lawyers as well as travel using his passport card for the time being.

Griffith was accused by the prosecution as being "verbose" and "provocative" during his bond hearing


Griffith, who has since been suspended from the Ethereum Foundation but still enjoys the public support of the company and its CEO, Vitalik Buterin and has worked on various dark web projects including the TOR project, was charged with sanction violations after sharing crypto-information with North Korea and while he is not charged with money laundering, the prosecution as well as the case being built against him stands on the premise that him sharing that information aided a foreign government to launder money.

In lieu of this, District Judge Vernon S. Broderick shared some thoughts about the case, saying,

Laws in this country are not suggestions… Assisting foreign governments with money laundering is illegal. If you were in North Korea, you wouldn’t be having a bond hearing.

He added that in light of evidence presented in court, Griffith is not considered a flight risk and is to be allowed to move around somewhat freely in the custody of his parents in Alabama until he stands trial.

Judge Broderick said,

There are factors militating for bail. Griffith turned himself in. A $1 million bond secured by sister’s and parent’s houses. And perhaps he can use the computer, with monitoring.

Adding that some crypto-wallets Griffith is suspected to be holding be in Singapore be secured to ensure he can’t access them.

Inner City Press, who were present at the bond hearing and provided a transcript source of court proceedings for this article say in their interactions with the Assistant US Attorney, it is possible for the ruling granting Griffith bail to be appealed by the Office. Later developments will be reported as and when.

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