Virgil Griffith, the head of Ethereum’s special projects division, will be released from jail after his bond is posted according to his defense lawyer Brian Klein.
The Ethereum developer made news last week after being arrested on charges of conspiracy. Virgil Griffith, the head of Ethereum’s special projects, was accused of assisting the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) in avoiding sanctions imposed by the U.S.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Griffith’s judge ruled that he should be released after certain conditions were met. Prosecutors, according to the source, were given a 7-day stay for an appeal.
Griffith Stepped on Government’s Toes
Griffith was charged by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegedly assisting North Korea in bypassing U.S. sanctions.
According to a DOJ complaint, Griffin traveled to North Korea despite “receiving warnings not to go” and attended a blockchain conference to teach “his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York stated that Griffith used his knowledge and expertise to teach a North Korean conference how to leverage cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to evade sanctions.
Griffith was arrested last week at the Los Angeles International Airport for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and was set to appear before a court this week. Griffith will be represented by Brian Klein of Baker Marquart, a veteran lawyer in the crypto industry.
Griffith’s Legal Representative – Brian Klein
Klein is known for having represented some of the most notable names in crypto, including early Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem and Marcus Hutchins. Earlier this year, Klein negotiated a settlement between Shrem and the Winklevoss twins and reduced Hutchins’ sentence to a year of supervised release.
The crypto community reacted positively to the news about Griffith’s new legal representation, with many saying Klein was the “best in the space.”
According to Klein, Griffith is set to be released from prison once his bond is posted. As the process could take as much as a few weeks to complete, Griffith most likely won’t see his trial begin until 2020.
The 36-year old Singapore resident is up for a tough fight—he is accused of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. In the unsealed court documents, Griffith is said to have traveled to North Korea in April this year, where he attended and presented at the “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference,” despite being denied permission to travel to the country.
He is said to have provided the government of North Korea with “valuable information on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies” and discussed “using cryptocurrency technologies to evade sanctions and launder money.”
Apart from that, Griffith reportedly told an FBI agent that he began formulating plans to facilitate the exchange of a cryptocurrency, most likely Ethereum, between North Korea and South Korea. The court documents implied that Griffith acknowledged that this would violate sanctions against the communist state.