One of the founders of the Tornado Cash crypto mixer, Roman Storm, has been released on bail, his lawyer announced on social media. Storm, who was arrested in the United States, has been charged with money laundering and sanctions violations through the unlicensed platform.
Storm Out on Bail After Indictment for His Role in Running Tornado Cash
Roman Storm, a co-founder of the cryptocurrency mixing service Tornado Cash, has been released on bail, his lawyer Brian Klein revealed Thursday in a post on X, formerly Twitter. The news came a day after Storm and another co-founder, Roman Semenov, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to launder money and violate sanctions laws while operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
Pleased to share that my client Roman Storm is already out on bail, although I remain very disappointed that the prosecutors charged him because he helped develop software – their novel legal theory has dangerous implications for all software developers.https://t.co/elmU8VqpYq
— Brian Klein (@brianeklein) August 24, 2023
U.S. authorities believe that the mixer has laundered more than $1 billion in digital currency. According to the indictment, unsealed on Wednesday, the total includes hundreds of millions of dollars that allegedly went to the Lazarus Group, a hacking organization working for North Korea.
Prosecutors accuse Storm and Semenov of creating Tornado Cash to allow cybercriminals to anonymize such transfers of crypto funds. While Storm, 34, had been arrested in Washington state, Semenov, a 35-year-old Russian national, remains at large.
In his tweet, Klein said he was pleased with Storm’s release, but at the same time expressed his disappointment that his client had been charged for helping develop software. He warned that the prosecutors’ move will have “dangerous implications for all software developers.”
Storm has been cooperating with the government’s investigation and denies any criminal conduct, his lawyer pointed out in another statement.
The U.S. sanctioned the Lazarus Group in 2019 and Tornado Cash in 2022. The Treasury Department sanctioned Semenov on Wednesday for “providing material support” to both.
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