On the 6th of September, 2023, the Inner City Press (ICP) delivered an account of the legal proceedings involving Roman Storm, one of the co-creators behind the ethereum (ETH) mixing protocol, Tornado Cash. In the courtroom drama that unfolded, Storm resolutely declared his innocence by pleading not guilty to the charges levied against him.
Tornado Cash Co-Creator Roman Storm Denies Money Laundering Charges
As August drew to a close, the federal indictment of Roman Storm and his fellow co-founder, Roman Semenov, sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency world. They faced charges that ranged from money laundering conspiracy to violating sanctions laws, all the way to operating an unlicensed money-transmitting enterprise. While Roman Storm was present in the courtroom, Semenov remained conspicuously at large, a fugitive abroad, as pointed out by the prosecutors during the hearing.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), during the proceedings, asserted a deeply troubling allegation. They contended that Storm, through Tornado Cash, had allegedly facilitated the operations of North Korea’s notorious hackers, specifically the infamous Lazarus Group. The backdrop to this case, as divulged through ICP’s social media thread, indicated potential victims of cyberattacks and the presence of highly sensitive “classified materials” linked to the matter.
Intriguingly, it was revealed that Roman Storm shared legal representation with Virgil Griffith, another developer who faced accusations of aiding North Korea by imparting blockchain knowledge. Griffith had already been sentenced to a substantial prison term, exceeding five years. The report by ICP’s Matthew Russell Lee provided insight into the decision by U.S. government prosecutors: they consented to Storm’s release on bail, albeit with stringent travel restrictions. The bond, set at $2 million, was secured through a single co-signer, in addition to Storm’s residence in Washington serving as collateral.
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