Virgil Griffith was ordered released on $1 million bail by a federal judge today, according to reports.
The Ethereum developer was arrested on Thanksgiving after speaking at a North Korean conference. He allegedly offered to assist North Korea in using blockchain and cryptocurrency to launder money and violate U.S. sanctions.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York vigorously contested the judge’s decision, according to Inner City Press. The Department of Justice may appeal the ruling, it added.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman’s office did not reply to requests for comment.
The bail is secured by liens on the houses of Griffith’s father and sister. Judge Vernon Broderick cited that family connection as one reason for granting the bail, according to Inner City Press. Griffith will live with his parents in Alabama while on bail.
“Laws in this country are not suggestions,” Judge Broderick told Griffith, according to Inner City Press. “Assisting foreign governments with money laundering is illegal.”
The judge reportedly added, “If you were in North Korea, you wouldn’t be having a bond hearing.”
Berman’s office cited a variety of reasons in opposing bail, the media site said. These included cryptocurrency wallets held in Singapore, a planned trip to the Caribbean, text messages about setting up a North Korean money laundering business, and his stated intention to renounce U.S. citizenship. The U.S. Attorney’s office also pointed out that 10 bailed defendants have fled after cutting ankle monitoring bracelets.