The US Attorney’s Office has described Virgil Griffith’s arguments against allegations of conspiracy to violate sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as „unfounded and absurd“. Cointelegraph reports this with reference to the minutes of the court hearing on 19 November.
The Prosecutor’s Office claims that the former researcher of the Ethereum Foundation provided services to the DPRK by analogy with a US citizen who disclosed details of the development of nuclear weapons by a North Korean scientist:
„A simple hypothesis shows that Griffith’s position is absurd. According to Griffith’s logic, [the North Korean sanctions provision] would allow American physicists to go to the DPRK and explain at the North Korean physicists‘ conference the science that underlies nuclear weapons only because the scientific data about it can be found on the Internet, Griffith himself did not receive a fee, and the regime’s desire to develop nuclear weapons was not of an economic nature.
In January, the US District Court indicted Griffith for conspiracy to violate the sanctions law following a presentation on siege and cryptology at a conference in North Korea. His presentation allegedly contained information that North Korean experts could use to circumvent economic sanctions.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Griffith knew that Binbot was interested in methods of circumventing sanctions using cryptov currencies. The prosecution said that Griffith had informed his partner of plans to conduct a 1 ETH transaction „between North and South Korea“ knowing that this would violate the sanctions. According to Reuters, Griffith told his acquaintances that he thought it would be ‚very cool‘ if the DPRK government were to broadcast the ETH.
Griffith claims that his presentation was „based on publicly available information“ and had no „economic benefit“. Vitalik Butterin, the creator of the broadcast, also noted that Griffith made a presentation based on publicly available information about open source software.
However, the prosecutor’s office claims that he „presented the concepts“ about cryptovoltaic and blockcheck currencies to the conference participants, and some North Koreans probably left with a better understanding of how to use technology to circumvent sanctions.