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When allowed to speak, Griffith said he’d learned his lessons. “I am still profoundly embarrassed that I am here, and of what I have done,” added he.
Manhattan judge, Kevin Castel, has delivered a judgment against former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith on Tuesday. According to the report, Castel sentenced Griffith to 63 months in prison. The Judge also fined him $100,000 for teaching North Koreans how to use cryptocurrencies.
Virgil had in 2019 traveled to North Korea. While there, he delivered a lecture at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference. Assistant Attorney General John Demers alleged that Griffith ‘taught his audience to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions.’ He also provided evidence that Griffith received a warning against visiting the regime. He said:
“By this complaint, we begin the process of seeking justice for such conduct.”
Recall that North Korea has been cut off from the global economy following strings of international sanctions. Consequently, the nation was one of the first to adopt cryptocurrencies for clear reasons. The Ethereum developer was arrested in November 2019 for his role at the Pyongyang conference.
Ethereum Developer to Serve as Deterrent
Griffith got a 5+ year sentence for a crime with a maximum penalty of 20 years. Previously, Griffith pled guilty to the prosecutors after staying ten months at the Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC). Thereafter, he got bail.
Griffith’s attorneys asked for leniency, citing the harsh conditions of his detention and his cooperation with the government. They also cited a psychological assessment that suggested he had two personality disorders.
When allowed to speak, Griffith said he’d learned his lessons. “I am still profoundly embarrassed that I am here, and of what I have done,” added he. Despite the show of remorse, the court appeared unmoved. “What you see here is an intentionality…and a desire to educate people on how to evade sanctions,” Castel said.
Citing the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war and the sanctions against Russia, Castel hopes the judgment will deter people like Griffith from violating US Sanctions. Castel noted that Griffith exhibited narcissistic tendencies.
“This guy is willing to play both sides of the street as long as he is the center of attention,” Castel said. Castel concluded that Griffith hoped for applause for his fearlessness in resisting the government.