$1M Bond to Keep Alleged North Korea Sanctions Violater Griffith in Alabama for Now


After having been denied bail on Dec. 26, Ethereum foundation researcher Virgil Griffith has now been released on a $1 million bond on the condition that he stay out of California.

On Dec. 30, the Inner City Press reported that the 36-year-old Griffith has been released after a bail appeal hearing earlier today. The hearing took place in front of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick, who granted a $1 million bail and ordered Griffith released, on the condition that he stay with his parents in Alabama for “moral suasion.”

Despite the fact that Griffith attempted to procure a St. Kitts passport, the bail conditions allow for Griffith to use his passport card to travel to countries such as Canada, Mexico and certain regions of the Carribean including St. Kitts and Nevis. He will also be able to use email to stay in touch with his lawyers. The $1 million bond is reportedly secured by relatives’ homes. 

Arrested for educating North Korea on crypto and blockchain

Griffith was first arrested on Nov. 28 for reportedly traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to deliver a presentation on how to dodge sanctions via cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. 

Griffith was charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said at the time:

“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. In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”

Denied bail at first

On Dec. 27, a public information officer for the SDNY told Cointelegraph that Griffith was denied bail and ordered detained.

Griffith also allegedly disowned his status as an American national via text messages to family members, according to texts quoted by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Griffith’s texts also allegedly included intent to facilitate money laundering activities in North Korea.