Former Ethereum Developer Sentenced Five Years in US for Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions

Former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith will serve five years and three months in prison for conspiring to help North Korea evade U.S. sanctions using cryptocurrency, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said.

Griffith pleaded guilty last September to a count of conspiracy to violate international sanctions in North Korea, admitting he presented at a cryptocurrency conference in Pyongyang in 2019 even after the U.S. government denied his request to travel there.

In the conference, Griffith had advised attendees on how to use cryptocurrency to become independent from the global banking system, information that could be used to evade sanctions, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors wrote in court papers that Griffith, a renowned hacker, also developed “cryptocurrency infrastructure and equipment inside North Korea.”

The maximum penalty for the crime was 20 years, but Griffith’s guilty plead reduced his sentence down to 63 months, alongside a $100,000 fine.


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