Cryptocurrency Expert, 36, Faces 20 Years in Jail After Being Charged with Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions with Blockchain Talk - Dumbass talked to the FBI with no attorney present

Marissa Moira

kiwifarms.net
Ok so, apparently he was just an "ideas guy". This is why he spoke to the FBI because he thought they would just be so floored with his ideas and would just do what he said because he was so smart and his ideas so brilliant. It may have been something like to use bitcoin to dissolve the concept of nations and we become one big happy global family.

The conference he spoke at was apparently on par with sovereign citizen bullshit where using this one weird trick you can overturn the global banking systems by chanting magic words and unplugging your router at the exact moment.

Anyways Ideas Guys deserve jail for just be a stain on humanity as a whole right next to marketers, so the fact that one committed an actual crime worthy of jail is perfectly fine. He can now think up all those wonderful ideas in jail without bothering the people at work and ruining deadlines because he scrapped a weeks worth of work because 5 minutes before the presentation because he just had a eureka moment totally unrelated to what the project was, so he's going to use the presentation time to announce a new project that nobody on the team has any skills or experience in.
 
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Wilhelm Bittrich

Ma'am, this is a Wendy’s!
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Absolutely exceptional. Where to start

1. He kept US citizenship while living abroad. Just because you live in another country does not exempt you from the loving embrace of Uncle Sugar. No matter where you are on the planet, if you are there with a US passport you are bound by the laws of the United States.

2. Ever since Best Korea killed that UVA student, US citizens are not just discouraged from going to North Korea, it is now illegal. The feds are tired of having to do a dog and pony show every time dear leader arrests a US citizen. So any American who enters that hell hole passes beyond the Emperors light and into damnation.

3. Why on gods green earth would you then break the flat travel sanction to go and give a symposium on how to circumvent US financial restrictions while also carrying US citizenship.

4. When HIS most holy inquisition starts asking you about the nature of your guilt, you actually tell them instead of running as fast as you can?

Dude is going to be burned at the stake. And it's all his fault.
It's always the same on the scale.
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AnOminous

Really?
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Retired Staff
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The prosecutor is Geoffrey S. Berman, who you might remember from this thread.

Dude is fucked. They're going after him through the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. The conduct described is, if not actual treason, at least treason-adjacent. This man is stupid beyond belief for someone who obviously considers himself some kind of genius.

He went to help the most terrorist nation in the world launder drug money to buy nukes. Great job you fucking crypto buffoon.

Justice Dept. press release.

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 29, 2019

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of United States Citizen For Assisting North Korea In Evading Sanctions

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, John Brown, Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) Counterintelligence Division, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI, announced today the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging VIRGIL GRIFFITH, a United States citizen, with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) by traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK” or “North Korea”) in order deliver a presentation and technical advice on using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions. GRIFFITH was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport yesterday and will be presented in federal court in Los Angeles on Monday, December 2.

U.S. 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. 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.”

Assistant Attorney General John Demers said: “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. By this complaint, we begin the process of seeking justice for such conduct.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “There are deliberate reasons sanctions have been levied on North Korea. The country and its leader pose a literal threat to our national security and that of our allies. Mr. Griffith allegedly traveled to North Korea without permission from the federal government, and with knowledge what he was doing was against the law. We cannot allow anyone to evade sanctions, because the consequences of North Korea obtaining funding, technology, and information to further its desire to build nuclear weapons put the world at risk. It’s even more egregious that a U.S. citizen allegedly chose to aid our adversary.”

According to the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

Pursuant to the IEEPA and Executive Order 13466, United States Persons are prohibited from exporting any goods, services, or technology to the DPRK without a license from Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).

In or about April 2019, GRIFFITH traveled to the DPRK to attend and present at the “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference” (the “DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference”). Despite that the U.S. Department of State had denied GRIFFITH permission to travel to the DPRK, GRIFFITH presented at the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, knowing that doing so violated sanctions against the DPRK. At no time did GRIFFITH obtain permission from OFAC to provide goods, services, or technology to the DPRK.

At the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, GRIFFITH and other attendees discussed how the DPRK could use blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to launder money and evade sanctions. GRIFFITH’s presentation at the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference had been approved by DPRK officials and focused on, among other things, how blockchain technology, including a “smart contract,” could be used to benefit the DPRK. GRIFFITH identified several DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference attendees who appeared to work for the North Korean government, and who, during his presentation, asked GRIFFITH specific questions about blockchain and cryptocurrency and prompted discussions on technical aspects of those technologies.

After the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, GRIFFITH began formulating plans to facilitate the exchange of cryptocurrency between the DPRK and South Korea, despite knowing that assisting with such an exchange would violate sanctions against the DPRK. GRIFFITH also encouraged other U.S. citizens to travel to North Korea, including to attend the same DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference the following year. Finally, GRIFFITH announced his intention to renounce his U.S. citizenship and began researching how to purchase citizenship from other countries.

* * *

VIRGIL GRIFFITH, 36, is a resident of Singapore and citizen of the United States. GRIFFITH is charged with conspiring to violate the IEEPA, which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and its New York Field Office, Counterintelligence Division, and thanked the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, for their assistance.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Ravener, Michael K. Krouse, and Kyle A. Wirshba are in charge of the case, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Christian Ford and Matthew J. McKenzie of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

The charge in the Complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.



Attachment(s):
Download Virgil Griffith complaint.pdf
Topic(s):
Counterintelligence and Export Control
Component(s):
USAO - New York, Southern
Contact:
Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600
Press Release Number:
19-409
The fucking dumbass literally gave them pictures of himself breaking the law.

1575555076529.png


From the complaint.
 
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mindlessobserver

kiwifarms.net
tbqh, what he did could have made a case for Treason too, but Federal Prosecutors are pretty averse to trotting out the "T" word. Been thinking on why someone who is supposedly so "smart" could be so dumb, and I don't really like "its autism" as an explanation. All he had to do was renounce his US citizenship and localize in Singapore and all of his shenanigans would have been beyond the Glowies reach unless for some stupid reason he traveled to a Five Eyes country.

The best explanation I can come up with is he was all for having the rights and privileges that come with being a US Citizen, especially a US citizen living abroad, while taking on none of the responsibilities that come with it. He spent all his time in a Libertarian fantasy land, got to live the dream in an Asian city, and immersed himself in the no rules ANCAP culture of international crypto markets. US citizenship was "just a thing he had". Convenient when it was useful too him, forgotten about when it was not.
 

Xarpho

Only looks like he's angry
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The best explanation I can come up with is he was all for having the rights and privileges that come with being a US Citizen, especially a US citizen living abroad, while taking on none of the responsibilities that come with it. He spent all his time in a Libertarian fantasy land, got to live the dream in an Asian city, and immersed himself in the no rules ANCAP culture of international crypto markets. US citizenship was "just a thing he had". Convenient when it was useful too him, forgotten about when it was not.
I'm not even sure if he thought he was doing anything illegal. In his mind, he probably showed the FBI everything, convinced he was operating under the law since crypto isn't "real" money, and didn't want to bring in a lawyer because he didn't want the appearance that he did anything wrong.
 
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mindlessobserver

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I'm not even sure if he thought he was doing anything illegal. In his mind, he probably showed the FBI everything, convinced he was operating under the law since crypto isn't "real" money, and didn't want to bring in a lawyer because he didn't want the appearance that he did anything wrong.
You would think someone that operates in the circles he did would have watched the "dont talk to the police" lecture at least once.

Since we are on the subject, dont talk to the police

 
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SiccDicc

I can't throw people out of windows anymore :(
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You would think someone that operates in the circles he did would have watched the "dont talk to the police" lecture at least once.

Since we are on the subject, dont talk to the police

Never talk to cops if you're the one in trouble. You might think they're there to catch the bad guy, they're not. They're there to get a conviction regardless of innocence.

Be very grateful our system operates on innocent until proven guilty and grants us the right to silence -- shame this poor dumb fuck went and proved he was guilty.
 

AnOminous

Really?
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Retired Staff
kiwifarms.net
All he had to do was renounce his US citizenship and localize in Singapore and all of his shenanigans would have been beyond the Glowies reach unless for some stupid reason he traveled to a Five Eyes country.
If he were doing it with the intention of specifically interfering with U.S. sanctions laws to harm U.S. citizens, the feds can and do exercise long-arm jurisdiction over even non-citizens. This may run afoul of various international law provisions and might not even hold up in domestic court sometimes, but if they want you they're going to come get you.

All he had to do was not give material assistance to a nuclear proliferation threat we consider, with good cause, to be a threat to our national security.

Never talk to cops if you're the one in trouble. You might think they're there to catch the bad guy, they're not. They're there to get a conviction regardless of innocence.

Be very grateful our system operates on innocent until proven guilty and grants us the right to silence -- shame this poor dumb fuck went and proved he was guilty.
He literally is the bad guy, though. He may have some idealistic bullshit reason for it, but he knew what he was doing was against the law, was told so, and went and did it anyway. It was giving material assistance to an enemy and in direct violation of criminal law. He knew it was such, did it anyway, and somehow was arrogant enough to think he could boast directly to the feds about violating federal law and they somehow wouldn't go after him.

He should have learned from his buddy Aaron Swartz that this is not the case and they do come after you.

I'm not even sure if he thought he was doing anything illegal. In his mind, he probably showed the FBI everything, convinced he was operating under the law since crypto isn't "real" money, and didn't want to bring in a lawyer because he didn't want the appearance that he did anything wrong.
He was entirely aware what he was doing was illegal. He even requested permission to go ahead and do it despite the sanctions, and was told not to do it. He then went and did it anyway. When he got his visa to go to DPRK by way of China, he got it as a separate piece of paper instead of as a stamp in his passport to try to evade scrutiny.

He knew there were sanctions on DPRK, knew he was evading them, knew this was a violation of criminal law, and did it anyway. The complaint lays it out. It's actually fairly horrifying how utterly fucked he is, just imagining being in that situation. He had every opportunity not to be in that situation, though.
 
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SiccDicc

I can't throw people out of windows anymore :(
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
If he were doing it with the intention of specifically interfering with U.S. sanctions laws to harm U.S. citizens, the feds can and do exercise long-arm jurisdiction over even non-citizens. This may run afoul of various international law provisions and might not even hold up in domestic court sometimes, but if they want you they're going to come get you.

All he had to do was not give material assistance to a nuclear proliferation threat we consider, with good cause, to be a threat to our national security.



He literally is the bad guy, though. He may have some idealistic bullshit reason for it, but he knew what he was doing was against the law, was told so, and went and did it anyway. It was giving material assistance to an enemy and in direct violation of criminal law. He knew it was such, did it anyway, and somehow was arrogant enough to think he could boast directly to the feds about violating federal law and they somehow wouldn't go after him.

He should have learned from his buddy Aaron Swartz that this is not the case and they do come after you.



He was entirely aware what he was doing was illegal. He even requested permission to go ahead and do it despite the sanctions, and was told not to do it. He then went and did it anyway. When he got his visa to go to DPRK by way of China, he got it as a separate piece of paper instead of as a stamp in his passport to try to evade scrutiny.

He knew there were sanctions on DPRK, knew he was evading them, knew this was a violation of criminal law, and did it anyway. The complaint lays it out. It's actually fairly horrifying how utterly fucked he is, just imagining being in that situation. He had every opportunity not to be in that situation, though.
I'm not convinced this isn't some performance piece on Virgil's part about how unfair America is. This is nothing like Aaron Swartz was, which I imagine Virgil thinks it is, in that Aaron was trying to share knowledge and MIT had the FBI lynch him. This is just some dumbass trying to empower a dictatorship. Then again, we're in Clown World and maybe people will be inspired by this dipshit to take North Korea's side.

I have a hatred of payment processors, but I draw the line at giving a tiny nation suffering Small Penis Syndrome access to funds that allows them to finance nukes.
 
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Tookie

Mountain of Molten Lust
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
He's a dumbshit who thinks he's going to be the next Snowden. Hanging around Singapore living off cryptobucks and railing chink girls is my idea of heaven, I hope he dies of super-AIDS in prison.
 

los pepes

kiwifarms.net
So what if he just uploaded his speech to youtube instead of traveling there? Or didn't exceptionally, literally say "Hi, North Korea, I am going to use my technical knowledge to show you how to evade US Sanctions" and just left it broad and generic more along the lines of "here is how society needs to move past the international banking system".

Seems like providing support could be stretched pretty far. Although in his specific case they didn't need to stretch anything because he for some odd reason felt the need to repeatedly reaffirm both to the FBI and in private messages that he was specifically trying to help North Korea evade sanctions.
 

AnOminous

Really?
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kiwifarms.net
So what if he just uploaded his speech to youtube instead of traveling there? Or didn't exceptionally, literally say "Hi, North Korea, I am going to use my technical knowledge to show you how to evade US Sanctions" and just left it broad and generic more along the lines of "here is how society needs to move past the international banking system".
Then he'd probably be fine. But he had to go out of his way to make his violation of the law incredibly explicit, clearly willful, and actually get turned down after asking for an exception to be made, then ignore the warning not to do it. He fucked himself in every imaginable way.
 

Liber Pater

Going Hard With The Hard "r's"
kiwifarms.net
I though that was a botched suicide attempt that his minders tried and failed to cover up.
That is the most likely scenario based on the physical evidence. It appears that he tried to hang/asphyxiate himself but fucked it up and became a vegetable instead due to the brain damage from cerebral hypoxia. I guess prison bedsheets in North Korea aren't as strong as they (supposedly) are in New York lol.

tbqh, what he did could have made a case for Treason too, but Federal Prosecutors are pretty averse to trotting out the "T" word. Been thinking on why someone who is supposedly so "smart" could be so dumb, and I don't really like "its autism" as an explanation. All he had to do was renounce his US citizenship and localize in Singapore and all of his shenanigans would have been beyond the Glowies reach unless for some stupid reason he traveled to a Five Eyes country.

The best explanation I can come up with is he was all for having the rights and privileges that come with being a US Citizen, especially a US citizen living abroad, while taking on none of the responsibilities that come with it. He spent all his time in a Libertarian fantasy land, got to live the dream in an Asian city, and immersed himself in the no rules ANCAP culture of international crypto markets. US citizenship was "just a thing he had". Convenient when it was useful too him, forgotten about when it was not.
Renouncing citizenship can be complicated and potentially unpleasant (especially for people with significant financial assets). They make it hard for a reason. He may have had intention to renounce but kept putting it off, idk.
In any case, if we was going to do something like this, he should have left the country as soon as he heard the FBI were looking into his conference. If the US government wants to make an example out of you, they will. But their reach is not unlimited.
 
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