(NewsReady.com) – In September 2021, Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum developer, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in the Southern District of New York. The coder was accused of working with North Korea against the direction of the United States. Now, he has learned his fate.
On Tuesday, April 12, US District Judge P. Kevin Castel sentenced Griffith to 63 months in federal prison and a $100,000 fine. The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged him with helping North Korea develop blockchain technology and cryptocurrency services in order to get around US sanctions. According to charging documents, Griffith traveled to North Korea in 2019 to deliver a presentation on the topic, despite the US denying him permission to do so. When he returned to the US, authorities arrested him at LAX.
During Griffith’s sentencing hearing, Castel sounded irritated by the narrative painted by the defense. He said the defendant isn’t a “crypto hero” who just traveled to North Korea to “speak at a conference.”
Breaking news: A particularly irritated federal judge just handed a stiff sentence to Virgil Griffith for speaking at a crypto conference in North Korea—and teaching them how to dodge US sanctions.https://t.co/ve8hnVBewi
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) April 12, 2022
The US has issued heavy sanctions against the North Korean government over its nuclear program. In 2018, Americans were prohibited from helping the nation from exploring the technology in question, including helping them raise funds for it.
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