The developer of Ethereum has to face a jury for allegedly helping North Korea circumvent sanctions

A federal judge in New York has denied a developer’s request from ether To dismiss criminal charges on allegations that It helped the North Korean regime circumvent the sanctions imposed by the United States.

The developer and former hacker, Virgil Griffith is accused of helping North Korea bypass economic sanctions by speaking at a blockchain conference in Pyongyang in April 2019.

Law360 reported that in your movement Griffith had claimed that the speech he gave at the Pyongyang conference on blockchain and cryptocurrency was protected by his right to freedom of expression.

The developer of Ethereum has to face a jury for allegedly helping North Korea circumvent sanctions
The developer of Ethereum has to face a jury for allegedly helping North Korea circumvent sanctions

Griffith also requested a list of details, claiming he could not prepare for the hearing because the four-page complaint against him was “brief and vague” and did not include details of his criminal behavior. However, the judge also denied the motion, stating that “adequate notification of the charges against Griffith had been received.”

The judge quoted them Text messaging that Griffith allegedly sent to his colleagues in the run-up to the conference in the following words:

“We would like to take an Ethereum trip to the DPRK and set up an Ethereum node […] It will help them circumvent the current sanctions against them. “

Another message appears to be that While Griffith was unsure of what the purpose of the North Korean government’s interest in crypto assets was, he speculated that “it was likely to avoid sanctions.”

Griffith’s fate must now be decided by a jury.

In January 2019, the U.S. Department of State denied Griffith’s request to travel to the North Korean capital for discussion “The use of blockchain technology in companies and the fight against corruption”.

Despite the rejection Griffith successfully applied for approval from the United Nations Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Manhattan and received the visa a month later.

The Justice Department announced Griffith’s arrest on November 29, 2019 and the US attorney Geoffrey Berman claimed Griffith “provided North Korea with highly technical information because he knew that information could be used to help North Korea launder money and circumvent sanctions.”

A formal complaint from January 2020 accused Griffith of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by attempting to provide “services” to North Korea.

While Griffith has claimed his speech was protected by the “Release of information” of the law that characterizes the presentation as delivery of “Information anyone can easily learn from a Google search,” said prosecutors, saying the speech could enable Kim Jong Un’s government to evade sanctions and launder money.

The judge noticed that too Griffith’s failure to receive financial compensation for the speech may not affect the jury’s decision. Specification:

“Even if Griffith’s presentation at the conference did not, on its own, qualify as a service-provider or be exempted from the information exception, the evidence in the trial may be sufficient to prove his guilt in the service-providing conspiracy.”

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