Ethereum researcher Virgil Griffith has been formally indicted for helping North Korea to evade tax via cryptocurrency
As AZCoinNews reported, Ethereum researcher Virgil Griffith was arrested for conspiracy to federal with North Korea. Although trying to settle this was just a misunderstanding, according to The U.S. Attorney’s Office, based on a text message taken from Griffith’s phone, it looks like he decided to relinquish US citizenship. And after a period of litigation, Griffith was officially charged with ‘conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.’
BETTER LATE THAT NEVER: Virgil Griffith Today Belatedly Released Ten Days After Dec 30 Order, Now After Formally Indicted For NK Crypto, Stonewalling by US Attorney’s Office @SDNYLIVE https://t.co/UwZ51K9ibE pic.twitter.com/VU5zIOnfkM
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) January 9, 2020
Ethereum researcher Virgil Griffith formally indicted on federal charges
The FBI arrested Griffith for traveling to North Korea and attending a conference in Pyongyang. While this may sound absurd, he was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on November 28 for attending and presenting at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Crypto Conference. Griffith’s attendance at the conference violated a US decree because the US State Department refused to allow the same thing. His case was handed to SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel, as 20-cr-15: the fifteenth criminal case of the year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
According to U.S. lawyer Geoffrey S. Berman, the researcher has supported one of the most critical U.S. rivals, North Korea, in tax evasion through Blockchain and cryptocurrency. Griffith was denied bail on December 26 for violating the International Emergency Economic Power Act (IEEPA).
On January 2, the Secretary of State’s press office announced that the Ethereum Foundation researcher had not been guaranteed:
“He did not satisfy his guarantee conditions. Still awaiting the consent of the co-signers and the properties as collateral.”
The Ethereum Foundation quickly pulled out of the debate, claiming that Griffith’s travel was purely personal.
The report stated:
“This organization is aware of the recent allegations against Virgil Griffith. We can confirm that the Fund is not represented in any capacity at the events stated in the Department of Justice and Foundation files neither accepting nor supporting any such trip; it is a matter of personal concern.”
On the other hand, the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, tried to protect Griffith. Buterin claimed that he had signed a petition intended to free Griffith.
After Griffith was arrested, the Ethereum co-founder signed a petition demanding the release of the American programmer. He thought that it was easy to deduce that Griffith suffered the consequences of his actions. But this is not the right approach.
I refuse to take the convenient path of throwing Virgil under the bus, because I firmly believe that that would be wrong. I’m signing. Reasoning below.https://t.co/E44p5caeJO
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) December 1, 2019
“I don’t want Virgil to be wrongfully accused because I’m sure that is wrong. I think I’m right.”
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