The United States Department of Commerce has imposed a 10-year export privilege ban on Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum developer serving a five-year prison sentence. The ban restricts him from enjoying export privileges until April 12, 2032.
The export privilege ban affects his ability to participate in international trade and business. On April 12, 2022, Virgil Griffith was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for breaching the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). Griffith was found guilty of unauthorized export of services to North Korea and circumventing U.S. sanctions imposed on the country.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey 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 was sentenced to 63 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He is also obligated to pay a $100 assessment and a criminal fine of $100,000.
Under the provisions of the Export Control Reform Act, individuals convicted of specific offenses, such as violating the IEEPA, may face a denial of export privileges for up to 10 years. This denial can lead to the revocation of licenses or authorizations previously granted by the Bureau of Industry and Security — an agency of the Commerce Department.
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.
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.