ETH developer pleads guilty to conspiring to break sanctions laws

Ethereum ( ETH ) Developer Virgil Griffith has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he conspired with North Korea to violate US sancti...



Ethereum (ETH) Developer Virgil Griffith has pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he conspired with North Korea to violate US sanctions law.

Griffith pleaded guilty in New York on Monday to plotting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which prohibits American citizens from exporting technology and intellectual property to communist countries. Under the plea deal, Griffith could face up to six and a half years in prison. The official sentencing is expected to begin in January 2022.

Virgil, who was a senior researcher for the Ethereum Foundation, was arrested in November 2019 after attending a conference in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang earlier in the year. Prosecutors allege the developer gave a presentation on how to launder money and evade sanctions using blockchain technology.

Griffith’s plea deal came just as jury selection was due to begin in New York City. Like the Wall Street Journal reported, the lawsuit was likely to address complex issues involving issues of free speech and North Korea’s relations with the United States.

Journalist Ethan Lou, who claims to have been in North Korea with Griffith when he made the presentation, said it was not known exactly what triggered the developer’s guilty plea. He Explain:

“It is not known what new development caused this guilty plea. The papers were only signed yesterday. One possible reason is the ban on remote testimony from an Ethereum Foundation attorney.

As Cointelegraph reported, Griffith’s legal team tried to dismiss the charges in October 2020, but the arguments put forward were firmly rejected by prosectors. At the time, lawyers representing the US government called the arguments “unnecessary.”