Virgil Griffith speaks at Consensus: Singapore 2018, photo via CoinDesk archives.
A judge ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice has enough evidence to move a case against ethereum developer Virgil Griffith to trial.
Griffith, who was arrested in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Day on charges of conspiracy to assist the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in learning more about cryptocurrency for its own benefit, had a preliminary court hearing Monday to determine whether the DOJ had sufficient evidence to establish probable cause.
The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York said Friday that he had been charged with "Violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by traveling to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in order deliver a presentation and technical advice on using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions."
According to Friday's complaint, Griffith asked for - and was denied - permission to travel to North Korea in order to give the presentation, titled "Blockchain and Peace." Moreover, the complaint said, Griffith subsequently "Began formulating plans to facilitate the exchange of Cryptocurrency-1 between the DPRK and South Korea," despite knowing that this would violate U.S. sanctions against the DPRK.Following the hearing Monday afternoon, Brian Klein of Baker Marquart, who is representing Griffith, said in a statement that the developer will be released from jail after bond is posted.
"We are very pleased that today the judge found that Virgil should be released from jail pending trial. We dispute the untested allegations in the criminal complaint. Virgil looks forward to his day in court, when the full story can come out."
Klein has represented a number of high-profile individuals in the cryptocurrency and cybersecurity worlds, including bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem and security researcher Marcus Hutchins.
Correction: After publication of this article, the lawyer representing Griffith added that his client will be held until bond is posted.
"This usually takes a few weeks," Klein wrote.
CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
Ethereum Developer Virgil Griffith to Be Released From Jail Pending Trial
Published on Dec 3, 2019
by Coindesk | Published on Coinage
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