Crypto Cyclone: Roman Storm's Legal Defense Against Money Laundering Allegations

Police & Regulations
Sep 7, 2023 at 09:13 am

During a recent court proceeding, Roman Storm, one of the developers behind Tornado Cash, found himself alongside fellow creators Roman Semenov and Alexey Pertsev, confronting accusations of being involved in the laundering of more than $1 billion in pilfered digital currency. Storm, who possesses both U.S. and Russian citizenship, firmly pleaded "not guilty" to charges associated with money transmission, aiding money laundering, and evading sanctions.

Judge Katherine Polk Failla sanctioned Storm's release on a $2 million personal recognizance bond, secured by his residence in Washington state. This bond stipulated co-signing by a financially responsible individual. Nevertheless, Storm will remain under strict house arrest, subjected to routine drug screenings, and barred from firearm possession or communication with co-defendants, witnesses, or potential victims.

As part of the pre-trial conditions, Storm's movements will be restricted to the central district of California, as well as the southern and eastern districts of New York and New Jersey, solely for indispensable court proceedings.

Storm's apprehension, which transpired a fortnight ago, encompassed charges of conspiracy to facilitate money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmission service, and violating sanctions. Prosecutors affirm that Storm, along with Semenov and Pertsev, played a significant role in assisting unlawful entities in laundering substantial sums of purloined cryptocurrency, including a notable portion routed to North Korea. Their involvement was intertwined with their contributions to the development of the Tornado Cash platform.

While Pertsev was apprehended in The Netherlands last year and awaits his day in court, Semenov, who was also indicted, has yet to be apprehended as of the latest report.

Brian Klein, a partner at Waymaker LLP representing Storm, underscored that federal authorities were employing an unconventional legal tactic by singling out a developer for their involvement in code creation.

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