Ethereum Researcher Arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation but ETH Price Unfazed

FBI Arrests Crypto Educator for aiding North Korea – Is it an Overreaction

Griffith is also part of the Special Projects group of the Ethereum Foundation, according to its medium profile.

Griffith, who has a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology, gave a presentation on topics pre-approved by North Korean officials, provided valuable technical information, and engaged in talks about using cryptocurrency technology to circumvent sanctions and launder money, prosecutors said.

Virgil Griffith advised Pyongyang how to use blockchain and virtual currencies "to evade sanctions" at a conference.

According to the authorities, Griffith went to North Korea back in April 2019, and he was finally arrested for his violation of the USA laws on Thursday, November 28th, at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Cryptocurrency was created as a decentralized method of payment that could be used around the world.

What do you think about Virgil Griffith's actions?

The FBI arrested the Ethereum Foundation's special projects director today at Los Angeles International Airport, alleging that he assisted the North Korean regime in devising a workaround for USA sanctions using the Ethereum blockchain.

Authorities say Griffith broke sanctions the USA government had imposed on North Korea, through laws such as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA"), and Executive Order 13466, signed by President Bush in 2008, and Executive Order 13722, signed by President Obama in 2016.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the maximum sentence for the crime is up to 20 years of incarceration, but the gravity of his sentencing hinges on evidence that he did help the North Korean government and the judgment of the bench. He "jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea's unsafe regime".

The criminal complaint also alleges that Griffith was working on "plans to facilitate the exchange of Cryptocurrency-1 (Ether) between the DPRK and South Korea", in violation of USA sanctions.

The IEEPA and Executive Order 13466 state that no citizen of the United States is permitted to export technology, services, or goods without getting a prior license from the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC").

The sanctions prohibit U.S. citizens, organizations, and private businesses from lending any aid to the North Korean government.

The release added that "the charge in the Complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty". The full press release from the Department of Justice can be viewed at here.

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