Prosecutors ask to send Virgil Griffith back to jail pending trial

Tue 13 Jul 2021 ▪ 19h15 ▪ 3 min de lecture - par Mathias Neuville

On 10th July, US Department of Justice prosecutors handling Virgil Griffith’s case wrote a letter to the judge in charge asking to put Virgil back to jail pending trial.

Lecture in North Korea results in court case

Virgil Griffith, better known as Romanpoet, is one of the renowned Ethereum (ETH) developers. He also stands behind WikiScanner, an indexing tool for Wikipedia. Virgil is accused of having violated the US law imposing sanctions on North Korea.

The New York prosecutors’ request arises as a direct result of a lecture Virgil gave in North Korea in 2019, providing some ideas on how to bypass the American sanctions using cryptocurrencies.

In the wake of the conference, Virgil was arrested in Singapore, where he then lived. The American justice system prosecuted him for having violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act which limits, among other things, economic exchange with North Korea.

According to the US legal authorities as well as to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Griffith has allegedly “provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions”, and provided the audience with information on how to use cryptos to bypass the sanctions.

When Virgil was released on bail at the end of 2019, the prosecutors considered him a grave flight risk. Recently, he has reportedly attempted to access one of his frozen cryptocurrency accounts with more than $1 million (~£721,600), which, as the prosecutors say, increases the risk to an “unacceptable” level. Virgil has also reportedly tried to learn more about the possibility of renouncing his US citizenship.

Griffith’s lawyers have responded by calling the prosecutors “incredibly heavy-handed and punitive”. They assert that their client didn’t provide any service during his visit to North Korea since he didn’t receive any money for the speech at the Pyongyang conference.

As for today, the judges haven’t satisfied the US prosecutors’ requests. No date has been set for Virgil Griffith’s trial to decide whether he had actually violated the laws related to the US financial sanctions against North Korea or not. To be continued, stay tuned!

Mathias Neuville

Passionné de la finance et des investissements de demain, je déniche sur le web les dernières tendances (et les dernières infos) en matière de cryptomonnaies et de calcul de risque. De nature curieuse, je fouille et arpente les médias anglophones à la recherche de news à croquer. Mon objectif ? Proposer des informations synthétiques vérifiées et de qualité pour éclairer ceux qui désirent s’aventurer dans le monde des cryptoactifs.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.

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