US developer Virgil Griffiths was sentenced Tuesday to five years and three months in prison for providing North Korea with consulting services on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Griffith was a developer and research scientist at Ethereum Foundation. In 2019, he traveled to Pyongyang to attend a blockchain and cryptocurrency conference despite being refused travel authorization by the US State Department. It should be noted that US citizens have been banned from traveling to North Korea since 2017, with special permissions given after review by the US government.
But the developer has been prosecuted for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and Executive Order 13466, which prohibit the export of goods, services, or technology to North Korea without permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), an agency of the US Treasury.
Griffiths, in addition to attending the event, was accused of passing on information about how North Korea used crypto technology to launder money and circumvent US sanctions. In September last year, he pleaded guilty in court for the Southern District of New York.
In addition to spending five years and three months in prison, Virgil Griffiths will spend another three years on probation after his release from prison.
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