North Korea Sanctions Case: Ethereum Developer Virgil Griffith Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Charge

The developer of Ethereum, Virgil Griffith, who was charged with violating the sanctions law of U.S., has pleaded guilty in an agreement with federal prosecutors.

Virgil Griffith claimed guilty to one charge of conspiracy in which it violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act on Monday in a New York courthouse. He could be seen in the plea deal serving between 63 and 78 months in prison. He will be sentenced in January 2022.

The attorney of Griffith, Brian Klein, said in a statement, “Virgil is deeply remorseful. Setting aside what happened, he has made important contributions to society that we will raise with the court. He also has many wonderful qualities, and no one should define him by this mistake.”

In November 2019, the developer was arrested after he gave a presentation on blockchain as well as cryptocurrency at a cryptocurrency conference in North Korea in April. He further agreed to a forfeiture clause in the sane year, though details were not disclosed at press time. A charging document of 2019 calls for the forfeiture of any proceeds Griffith earned from giving the presentation.

Virgil Griffith was released on bail in 2020, but he is presently in jail on allegations of attempting to violate the condition of his bail. Griffith tried to access his holdings of Coinbase to pay his attorneys earlier this summer, which according to the prosecutors, violated the terms of his agreement.

After entering a guilty plea, the lawyers of Griffith requested him to move to Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, N.J. from Metropolitan Correctional Center, citing “very difficult” conditions at MCC, which is known for being dilapidated and dangerous for inmates.

The developer of Ethereum, Virgil Griffith was charged with violating a pair of executive orders that forbade some types of transactions and activities in North Korea, inclusive of exporting services by the people of U.S. As a citizen of U.S., Griffith qualifies as a U.S. person, though his primary residence was in Singapore before his arrest.

The plea deal of Griffith came as a surprise, as both prosecutors and the defense team of Griffith have been preparing for a trial. A jury was finalized Monday morning.

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