The New York Court presiding over the fraud case of Ethereum developer, Virgil Griffith, has asked him to pay the sum of $1 million before he could be given conditional bail. If he meets the jail terms, the court will release him to his parents’ home in Alabama. Vernon Broderick, the U.S. district judge, issued out the press release on Virgil’s bail conditions yesterday.
When the hearing began, Broderick admonished the accused to abide by the laws in the country. According to a tweet thread from Matthew Russell, a reporter who covered the hearing, the judge advised Griffith to take heed to the laws of the land. He stated that the laws governing the land are not mere suggestions.
OK- here for Virgil Griffith's appeal of his Dec 26 bail denial for alleged crypto violation of #NorthKorea sanctions, which Inner City Press also exclusively covered @SDNYLIVE. This time Virgil has two lawyers. Here comes Judge Broderck. "All rise" – thread
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) December 30, 2019
Defendant happy with the decision
Brjan Klein, Griffith’s attorney, stated afterwards that the team is happy that the judge supported the defence counsel and heed their request to release Griffith on bail, pending trial.
Griffith was a co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation, as he was one of the developers of the technology. He also worked as head of special projects in the company. But he was suspended from the Ethereum Foundation and arrested subsequently. He was accused of violation of the IEEPA by travelling to North Korea to teach students about cryptocurrency. He reportedly went against the international body’s code of conduct on a mission were a ban was placed for such mission.
He taught some North Korea students how to use digital currencies to evade crime. According to reports at the time, the cryptocurrency conference was organized by the government of Pyongyang.
Griffith’s attorney appealed for a bond earlier, but the appeal was denied
Yesterday’s hearing was the second appeal for the denial of bond, as reported last week. In the case, the U.S attorney told the court that the denial of the bond was proper because Griffith has already indicated interest to renounce his U.S. citizenship. As a result, the denial of bail should continue.
However, after considering the possibility of the assets that Griffith’s can control abroad and the likelihood of flight risk, the judge decided that Griffith will be released to his family, pending trial.
Preconditions for bail have been met
The major condition for his release on bail, prior to trial, is the $1 million bond he is expected to pay. Other conditions include the presence of his family in New York, as well as pre-trial services in Alabama. There is no agreed plan when the trial will commence or how long Griffith would stay on bail.
He was initially denied an appeal from bail on December 16 before the judge revisited the appeal yesterday.
The judge gave reasons why the court deems it necessary to grant Griffith the bail. According to him, certain factors have qualified Griffith for bail. One of those factors is the fact that he turned himself in.
He has also pledged to meet the other factors, including the bond and other geographical restrictions he would be subjected to. He can make use of the computer, but it will be under severe monitoring. With all these conditions, the judge decided to grant him bail as long as he stays in his father’s house and fulfils other conditions until the trial date.