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Former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith agreed to a deal with investigators that would see him in prison for 63 to 78 months instead of 20 years.
Virgil Griffith was arrested in November 2019 after giving a presentation on cryptocurrencies and the Ethereum blockchain at a specialized conference in North Korea. Upon his return to the US, he was charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Action Act (IEEPA). According to U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, Griffith “agreed to help one of the United States’ most dangerous foreign adversaries, North Korea.”
In accordance with the provisions of the IEEPA and Executive Order 13466, citizens of the United States are prohibited from exporting any goods, services, or technology to the DPRK without permission from the US Department of the Treasury and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The prosecution asked the court to fine Griffith with a $1 million fine and a maximum prison term of 20 years to deter him and others from “similar behavior in the future.”
After two years of pre-trial detention, Griffith pleaded guilty to violating U.S. laws. Under the terms of the plea deal, Griffith could spend between 63 and 78 months in prison (about 5-6.5 years). Griffith’s lawyers have not publicly commented on their client’s decision. The former Ethereum developer is due to appear in New York court today, April 12.
Recall that in December 2019, Griffith was released on bail of $ 1 million secured by the real estate of his relatives. However, in July 2021, the developer was re-arrested due to violating release conditions. According to the US Attorney’s Office, he tried to access his account on the Coinbase exchange in order to use the money to escape the country.
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