Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum developer who is accused of collaborating with North Korea, returns. It was supposed to help the Kim regime avoid economic sanctions using cryptocurrencies. Now he has to stand before the jury.
Virgil Griffith in front of the jury
We already know that a New York federal judge rejected Griffith’s motion to dismiss the criminal charges. Former Ethereum developer has been accused of helping North Korea avoid economic sanctions. Why? It’s about his speech at the blockchain conference in Pyongyang in April 2019.
The computer scientist claims that the speech he made at the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency conference in Pyongyang was protected by his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.
Griffith also requested a list of details of the case from the court, arguing that he was unable to prepare for the hearing. As he claims, there was a four-page indictment “Short and unclear” and it lacked detailed information describing him “Criminal conduct”. The problem is that the judge also rejected this request, considering that the accused had already been delivered “An appropriate notice of the charges”.
The judge also cited text messages Griffith allegedly sent to his colleagues in the run-up to the conference. They show that the young IT specialist wanted to “Go on a trip to the DPRK” and create an Ethereum node there to help “In circumvention of the current sanctions”. In another message, Griffith, when asked why North Korea wanted such solutions, replied that he did not know, but speculated that it was probably an attempt “avoid sanctions ”.
The case has been going on for over a year
Recall that the Department of Justice announced the arrest of Griffith on November 29, 2019. US prosecutor Geoffrey Berman then stated that the IT specialist “He provided North Korea with highly technological information, knowing that this could help North Korea launder money and avoid sanctions.”
The indictment from January 2020 noted that the young expert may have conspired with North Korea to violate the international law on extraordinary economic powers.
The judge also noted that the fact that Griffith did not receive financial compensation for his appearance might not affect the jury’s decision.