Former Etherium developer Virgil Griffith agreed to a deal with the investigation, under the terms of which his prison term will be 63 to 78 months instead of 20 years.
Virgil Griffith was arrested in November 2019 after giving a presentation on cryptocurrencies and the Etherium Blockchain at a profile conference in North Korea. Upon his return to the U.S., he was charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Measures Act (IEEPA). According to U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, Griffith “agreed to help one of the United States’ most dangerous foreign adversaries, North Korea”.
IEEPA and Executive Order 13466 prohibit U.S. citizens from exporting any goods, services, or technology to the DPRK without authorization from the U.S. Treasury Department and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The prosecution asked the court to impose a $1 million fine and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on Griffith to deter him and others from “similar behavior in the future”.
After two years in pretrial detention, Griffith pleaded guilty to violating U.S. laws. Under the terms of the plea deal, Griffith could spend 63 to 78 months (about 5 to 6.5 years) in prison. Griffith’s attorneys have not publicly commented on their client’s decision.
The former Efirium developer is scheduled to appear in court in New York City today, April 12.
In December 2019, Griffith was released on $1 million bail secured by his relatives’ real estate. However, in July 2021, the developer was arrested again for violating the terms of his release. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he tried to access his Coinbase account in order to use the money to flee the country.