Virgil Griffith, who previously worked at the Ethereum Foundation, is back behind bars. The reason is a violation of the terms of bail.
Prosecutors made a request to the judge, asking him to change the measure of restraint. Previously, Virgil assigned house arrest, which he is serving with his parents in Alabama. Griffith accused of violating the Economic Powers Act in the event of international emergencies.
After it was revealed that he attempted to gain access to his account on the Coinbase site. So the prosecutor began to promote that Virgil taken into custody and sent to jail.
Moreover, the prosecutor, represented by the Attorney General, announced Griffith’s suspicion of trying to leave the United States before the start of the hearing on his own case.
In turn, Griffith’s lawyers believe that this is a misunderstanding, and their client did not deserve such a punishment. However, the judge did not accept their arguments. The judge took into account the significantly increased price of Ethereum. And admitted that the accused could really try to escape from justice. So the measure of restraint changed: judge decided to put him behind bars.
Jason Gottlieb, a spokesman for the law firm MorrisonCohen LLP, who is a disinterested party, noted that if the United States Attorney’s Office placed Griffith in custody for violating bail conditions, it would be sheer madness and unfair brutality.
Virgil Griffith and his reputation
Griffith has a very controversial reputation. Back in the spring of 2019, he was at a meeting in the DPRK. Where issues related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies discussed. He arrived there on a charter flight from China. According to the American authorities, he was there not only to discuss the problems of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. But also to transfer information that would allow blockchain to use to circumvent sanctions restrictions.
As you know, the DPRK under a large number of sanctions imposed by both the United States and other countries. Therefore, the North Korean authorities are looking for every opportunity to bypass them. They also use blockchain technology.
After visiting the DPRK, Griffith was arrested in December 2019. In January 2020, he released after a million dollar bail. In the fall of 2020, Griffith is petitioning the prosecutors’ suit to be dismissed, claiming that his presentation at the April 2019 conference consisted of widely available public information. The Ethereum developer pointed out that the DPRK did not provide any secret information, did not share any secret technologies, and no one paid him for participation in the conference.
Recall that in January 2021, the court rejected Griffith’s petition. The next hearing in his case scheduled for September 21. And, if proven guilty, the judge can put him in jail for 20 years. In the meantime, a former employee of the Ethereum Foundation is awaiting trial behind bars. He might have to spend several long decades there.