US Grand Jury Indicts Ethereum Researcher Virgil Griffith Over North Korea Trip

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has filed an indictment against Ethereum Foundation researcher Virgil Griffith on Jan. 7.

According to a court filing on Jan. 7, a federal grand jury charged Griffith with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The act was introduced in 1977 and is a U.S. federal law authorizing the president to regulate international commerce in case of a national emergency coming from outside the country. Griffith is accused of knowingly and willfully having conspired to violate the measures taken against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Griffith was arrested in late November 2019 for allegedly delivering a presentation on how to use cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to circumvent sanctions. He is believed to have done so with other people, of which at least one — the court claims — is expected to be brought to and arrested in the Southern District of New York. The document reads: It was a part and an object of the conspiracy that Virgil Griffith, the defendant, and others known and unknown, would and did provide and cause others to provide services to the DPRK, without first obtaining the required approval.

The court is further seeking the forfeiture of any property that Griffith bought or earned as a result of his alleged activities in the DPRK. The charges carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison. 

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