United States authorities have arrested American Ethereum researcher Virgil Griffith for sharing his expertise in crypto at a conference in North Korea.
On November 29, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced that Griffith had been arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Thanksgiving Day.
Griffith, who (according to his LinkedIn profile) is a resident of Singapore and has been working for the Ethereum Foundation as a research scientist since 2016, was charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and using his knowledge of crypto to assist North Korea in evading sanctions.
According to the press release, Griffith allegedly traveled to North Korea in order to deliver a presentation and technical expertise on using “cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions.”
US 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.”
“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.”