The Department of Commerce has imposed a 10-year export privilege bar on Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum developer currently serving a five-year prison sentence. This bar restricts him from enjoying export privileges until April 12, 2032.
The export privilege ban affects his ability tonparticipate in international trade and business. On April 12, 2022, Virgil Griffith was convicted in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for breaching the IEEPA. Griffith was found guilty of unauthorized export of services to North Korea and circumventing U.S. sanctions imposed on North Korea.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman accused Griffith of knowingly sharing technical information with North Korea that could aid in money laundering and evading sanctions, according to a statement. As a result of his conviction, Griffith has been sentenced to 63 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. He is also obligated to pay a $100 assessment and a criminal fine amounting to $100,000.
Under the provisions of the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA), individuals convicted of specific offenses, such as violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), may face a denial of export privileges for a period of up to ten years. This denial can lead to the revocation of any licenses or authorizations previously granted by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).
As a result of the bar, Virgil Griffith will be restricted from engaging, directly or indirectly, in any transactions involving commodities, software, or technology that fall under the jurisdiction of U.S. export regulations. This effectively entails the denial of his export privileges as a U.S. citizen.
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He was initially denied bail but was finally granted a bond order for $1 million at the end of December 2019. In October 2020, Griffith filed a motion to dismiss the conspiracy charges, claiming that his April 2019 conference presentation consisted of widely available public information; therefore, he was not providing a “service” to North Korean officials.
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