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After Virgil Griffith Had Bail Denied Inner City Press Asks UN About Its North Korea Sanctions Violations

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 28 – On North Korea there are not only US but also ostensibly international UN sanctions. But what if the UN itself violates them?

  On December 26 Virgil Griffith who a more ago was arrested on US charges of illegally traveling to North Korea and provide crypto currency advice was denied bail in a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York proceeding that Inner City Press exclusively covered, credited here here and here.

  On December 27 Inner City Press submitted written questions to the UN, its long vacationing Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric including: "On DPRK, what are the comments and action if any of SG Guterres on both the prosecution of Virgil Griffith for attending a crypto-currency conference in Pyongyang in April 2019 and this, by the UN: 'The United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF) this week approved its first round of funding for a project aimed at helping North Korea deal with climate change, the agency’s website indicated on Thursday.  The program, titled “Readiness and Preparatory Support for Capacity Building of NDA (National Designated Authorities) and establishment of a National Strategy Framework for engagement with GCF in the DPRK,” will be implemented through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to which GCF will be providing the funding.' What steps have these UN bodies take with regard to sanctions on DPRK?"

   The UN, which present itself as in charge of international sanctions regimes like those on North Korea and Iran, through its Security Council set to be taken over on January 1 by Vietnam, did not answer these questions. Elsewhere, the GCF illogically or in bad faith claimed that the mere involvement of UN FAO would mean that sanctions weren't being violated.

  Guterres, who has been on a European junket for weeks and now won't disclose where he is, spending public money, supposedly issued a statement on blockchain "exclusively" to capitalist tool publication Forbes: "'For the United Nations to deliver better on our mandate in the digital age, we need to embrace technologies like blockchain that can help accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals,' said Guterres in the statement provided exclusively to Forbes."

  So Guterres provides exclusive pablum to capitalist tool Forbes, but bans independent Inner City Press from even entering the UN, and has his spokesman ignored its written questions despite an on camera promise to answer. We'll have more on this - and on the case against Virgil Griffith. More now on December 28 on Patreon here.

  As Inner City Press reported on December 26, the US Attorney's Office cited his text messages to his parents about renouncing his U.S. citizenship and setting up a money laundering business in North Korea.

  In the Magistrates Court of the U.S. District  his parents were present, along with Inner City Press as the only media. They were there since the morning, and watched the other cases Inner City Press reported on.

  Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Ravener told SDNY Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses that Griffith had misled Pre-Trial Services about his residence in Puerto Rico; his lawyer Mr. Buckley first said Griffith owned it, then that he rented.

  Judge Moses asked why he has a residence in Puerto Rico. Buckley said Puerto Rico is a developing area in the crypto space.

  Griffith's request to be released was first stayed by SDNY District Judge Denise Cote, operating a "Part I" judge at the time. Buckley at the conclusion near 5 pm of the bail denial hearing on December 26 said he and a colleague flying in might seek to appeal to the "Part I" District Judge, Vernon Broderick.

   On December 27, Inner City Press repeatedly checked the courtroom of Judge Broderick in 40 Foley Square, and also his temporary courtroom 15A in 500 Pearl Street: nothing. The doors were locked.

Inner City Press will continue to cover this case, as it covered the OneCoin trial. Here is its live-tweet threat of December 26, more on Patreon here:

Right now Virgil Griffith is seeking release on bail from charges of illegal travel to, & crypto currency assistance to, #NorthKorea. Inner City Press is the only media  @SDNYLIVE  Magistrates Court

US Attorney cites $250,000 assets- thread Inner City Press @innercitypress · 50m US Attorney says Griffith in text message claimed to maintain the world's largest portal to the Dark Web. Mag Judge Moses asks if gov't thinks North Korea will send a private plane to pick him up

 US Attorney says Griffith faces 15 to 21 months and since he never served time before he may seek to flee, says it only takes one mistake at the border Griffith's lawyer says there is nothing illegal about using crypto currency. Offers to compile for court a list of his accounts, including it seems $65,000 in "old fashioned saving account"

 Replying to  @innercitypress Judge Moses: he didn't just invezt in crypto currency, he designs crypto currencies. Defense lawyer: it's a developing market. It shouldn't harm him under Bail Reform Act Defense lawyer: We've sought pre indictment discovery about his supposed discussion of rebouncing his US citizenship on his cell phone, "which we don't have"

 Defense lawyer says #SDNY Judge Cote did not have all the facts when she ordered Griffith detained. Will Mag Judge Moses "reverse" District Judge Cote? She is asking defense counsel how the last month has been spent.

 Defense lawyer says Griffith would live in Alabama with his parents (who are here in court). Inner City Press has seen them waiting here since morning, through the other case it has reported on

 Defense lawyer: "Prior counsel for Doctor Griffith was in communication with one of the AUSAs on the complaint right up to arrest on Thanksgiving... He does own a residence in Puerto Rico." Judge Moses: Why?
 Defense lawyer: "Puerto Rico is a developing area in the crypto space... He didn't purchase a return flight to Singapore, but to Baltimore, his sister's house."

AUSA: We were not informed there would be any more cooperation... We were unable to locate him. He has not given sufficient financial info. He may have misled Pre Trial Services: he owns property, and a shell company in Puerto Rico  AUSA: Griffith told his parents he might set up a money laundering company in North Korea. Defense lawyer: Sorry I said he owns property in Puerto Rico. He rents, like in Singapore. AUSA: He can acquire property overseas with his digital wallet.

Defense lawyer is reading out AUSA's email setting a meeting after Thanksgiving - then arrest..

Judge Moses: there are no conditions to assure defendant's presence. Bail is denied.

 Judge Moses: Defendant had a month to provide transparency into his accounts. I am somewhat troubled by delay in disclosing Puerto Rico residence. His private communications to his parents about renouncing citizenship and serting up money laundering in hostile NK

  Inner City Press will continue to cover this case. More on Patreon here.

 Earlier on December 26 a defendant named Stephanie Perez was unsuccesfully offered a bail package by the US Attorney's office on December 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrates Court. The offered package was for a $20,000 personal recognisance bond co-signed by two financially responsible people.

  But SDNY Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses asked, What about Ms. Perez' earlier failures to appear? Assistant US Attorney Brett M. Kalikow responded by referring to "the written application we passed up to your Honor" - that is, a non public document.

  Judge Moses said she had read it, whatever it is, and that it addressed only Ms. Perez' intentions. Kalikow asked, "May we approach?"

  There followed a non-public sidebar discussion. Inner City Press went next door and asked for the docket number; they did not have it. As the matter was put over to some undefined time, Inner City Press hopes to have more. The previously "Murky Mag Court" series was converted, but issues remain. Watch this site.



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