Manhattan Attorney Announces Arrest Of United States Citizen, Who Works For Ethereum, For Assisting North Korea In Evading Sanctions

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Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, John Brown, Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Counterintelligence Division, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI, announced today the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging VIRGIL GRIFFITH, a United States citizen who works for Ethereum, with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) in order deliver a presentation and technical advice on using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions. From a press release: GRIFFITH was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport yesterday and will be presented in federal court in Los Angeles later today. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated: “As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions. In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said: “Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions. By this complaint, we begin the process of seeking justice for such conduct.”
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