No Bail for Ethereum Researcher Turned North Korea Advisor Following Incriminating Texts
Ethereum Foundation researcher Virgil Griffith has reportedly been denied bail in New York. Currently detained, Griffith is appealing the action.
“Griffith was presented yesterday and ordered detained,” James Margolin, the chief public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Southern District of New York, told Cointelegraph in an email on Dec. 27.
“He is appealing and there will be [a] hearing before Judge Broderick,” Margolin said, naming Jan. 9 as the preliminary hearing date.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) rejected the option of bail for Griffith, a report from Inner City Press detailed on Dec. 26.
Griffith first faced arrest on Nov. 28 for allegedly traveling to North Korea to provide education on dodging sanctions via blockchain and crypto, Cointelegraph reported at the time. According to the state department’s allegations, Griffith’s actions breached the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
Charges against Griffith could potentially land him up to 20 years in jail.
Griffith allegedly disowned his status as an American national via text messages to family members, according to texts quoted by the U.S. Attorney’s office, accorded to Inner City Press, who were by their own account alone with Griffith’s parents in the audience at the court appearance. Griffith’s texts also allegedly included intent to facilitate money laundering activities in North Korea.
Griffith’s lawyer, last name Buckley, also reportedly provided inconsistent details during pre-trial proceedings, noting that Griffith both owned and rented a dwelling in Puerto Rico, explaining that cryptocurrency activities are increasing on the island.
Cointelegraph also reached out to Griffith’s lawyer, Brian Klein, for comment, but received no responses as of press time. This article will be updated if new information comes in.
In September, Cointelegraph reported on North Korea’s desire to create its own national crypto asset.