Tornado Cash developer pleads not guilty to charges of conspiracy, money laundering
Roman Storm, a key developer behind cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, pleaded not guilty to several criminal charges, Inner City Press said on Sept. 6.
That report indicates that Storm pleaded not guilty to charges contained within an earlier indictment. Those charges, which were first announced on Aug. 23, include conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit sanctions violations, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
Following Storm’s plea, prosecutors asserted that Storm, with Tornado Cash, aided the North Korean state hacking organization Lazarus Group. As a coin mixer, Tornado Cash had legitimate privacy applications but could have been used to launder money as well.
During the proceedings, Prosecutors stated that they plan to obtain discovery materials from GitHub and said that they have “multiple terabytes” of Russian-language data from Dutch authorities. Prosecutors also discussed the handling of classified materials with the judge. Prosecutors acknowledged that another accused individual — known to be Roman Semenov based on past reports — remains a fugitive outside of the U.S.
Finally, prosecutors agreed to release Storm on a $2 million bond secured by his Washington residence by Sept. 15. Prosecutors said that they have seized Storm’s Russian passport and that his movement is restricted to parts of the United States.
Proceedings suggest that a trial will occur on Nov. 30.
Connections to other crypto cases
Inner City Press noted connections to other high-profile cryptocurrency cases. It observed that Assistant U.S. Attorney Thane Rehn, who is a prosecutor in the case at hand, is also a prosecutor in the case against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
Inner City Press further noted that Storm’s lawyer is Brian Klein. Klein previously represented Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum developer who was charged and found guilty of sanctions violations involving North Korea.
All of the above cases are or were handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York — a division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that is currently highly involved in prosecuting crypto-related crimes.
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