Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith violated bail by trying to gain access to a coinbase account as we are about to find out more in our latest Ethereum news today.
Griffith was charged with providing North Korea with information on how to use crypto to launder money. He was taken into custody after the federal judge found he had violated the terms on bail according to reports from Inner City Press. As a researcher from the Ethereum Foundation, he is charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Federal authorities believe Griffith assisted North Korea’s efforts to launder money with the help of crypto to avoid US sanctions by presenting solutions during a blockchain conference in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in 2019. He was arrested the same year in November.
Virgil Griffith was surrounded by two US Marshals and took off his belt before being taken into the holding cell. His lawyer Mr. Klein, when the Press asked, said he had no comment. Virgil's father, whom Inner City Press previously spoke with, nodded. Podcast soon pic.twitter.com/4qPH0K3nVE
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) July 20, 2021
After being denied bail, Griffht was granted a bond order for $1 million at the end of December 2019. The US Attorney’s Office, however, says Virgil Griffith violated bail after he tried to access his crypto account on Coinbase via a third party- his mother. He had been granted bail on the condition that he won’t access his accounts and will remain under house arrest with his parents in Alabama. Griffith’s attorney argued it was a misunderstanding and that the developer who holds a Ph.D. in computation and neural systems for the California Institute of Technology, would not have needed help from his mom.
Judge Castel of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York which was having none of it. He cited the expanding price of ETH since the bond that was first set as a reason for Griffht to risk touching his accounts. Seeking a potential flight risk, Castel ordered Griffith to be taken into custody and if found guilty on conspiracy charges, he will face up to 20 years in prison.
As previously reported, A New York federal judge rejected the Ethereum Developer’s motion while Griffith claimed his speech at the conference in Pyongyang was protected by the First Amendment. He will stand trial in September 2021. The court rejected his motion to dismiss the charges over the allegations that the former ETH developer assisted North Korea to bypass sanctions that were imposed by the US government. Griffith claimed in his motion that his speech at the Blockchain and Crypto Conference in 2019 in Pyongyang was protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech. However, judge P. Kevin Castel from the Southern District of New York thinks otherwise.