36-year-old cryptocurrency specialist Virgil Griffith – who was recently arrested by American authorities for allegedly helping North Korea use blockchain technology in violation of US sanctions – has pleaded not guilty in court today.
Griffith was formally indicted for “conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act,” and his case was been assigned to SDNY Judge P. Kevin Castel in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
On January 7, 2020, according to a Forbes article, a Grand Jury indicted Virgil Griffith and he will stand trial for travelling to North Korea to teach cryptocurrency and blockchain. He has a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology and works for the Ethereum Foundation, who are up in arms over the charges.
As previously reported in Blockchain News, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
OK- here for Virgil Griffith’s appeal of his Dec 26 bail denial for alleged crypto violation of #NorthKorea sanctions, which Inner City Press also exclusively covered @SDNYLIVE. This time Virgil has two lawyers. Here comes Judge Broderck. “All rise” – thread
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) December 30, 2019
“Griffith wore a grey jacket, and laughed when the lawyers joked that the next date in the case will be March 17, St. Patrick’s Day: “Wear a green tie.”
When asked how he pled, Griffith said, “Innocent.”
The US Attorney’s Office said it had given some discovery on January 24, with more in two weeks. But when asked for a list of other attendees of the North Korea conference, the reply is that it is not required. Griffith’s team may seek Rule 15 testimony overseas, and politely declined Inner City Press’ question afterward about the other person referenced in the charging documents.”
North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The 15-member Security Council has unanimously strengthened those measures over the years, prompting Pyongyang to look for alternative ways to make money.
The 2nd Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference will be held from February 22- 29, 2020.