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Crypto mixer creators face crackdown as DOJ targets money laundering facilitators

TL;DR

  • DOJ opposes dismissing charges against Tornado Cash co-founder.
  • Tornado Cash developers accused of money laundering conspiracy, unlicensed operation.
  • Crypto mixer founders’ arrests raise scrutiny over criminal facilitation.

In accordance with the DOJ’s objection, it was argued that the accused had not made an effort to update the protocol to exclude sanctioned addresses. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has contributed to the motion to dismiss the charges against Roman Semenov, who was listed as a co-founder of Tornario Cash. The Court held that the ìfactsî presentation of facts for jury ruling at an early stage is a tactic that the defense used.

Prosecuting crypto mixers

The allegations against Tornado Cash co-founder are brought in the DOJ’s response. Its litigators analyzed why the person is accountable for the alleged offenses. The DOJ contended the defense’s description of Tornado Cash as a mixer app used to hide crypto transactions that began in 2019. The service has a dedicated website, a user interface, a suite of smart contracts, and “relayers” that make transmission possible.

The DOJ accused Storm and his fellow developer Semenov of plotting money laundering, working without a license for money transmitting, and violating sanctions by developing Tornado Cash, a crypto-mixing tool. The US administration accuses Lazarus North Korea of using Tornado Cash as a mode of money laundering. At the end of September 2023, Mr. Storm pleaded non-guilty to all charges and was quickly bonded at 2 million dollars. 

The most pressing restriction upon Storm is that he cannot travel without a warrant out of some areas within New York, New Jersey, Washington, and California. However, at the end of March, Storm’s lawyers tried to dismiss the indictment through the Motion to Dismiss, suggesting that the authorities didn’t have grounds to charge Soros with a crime. Semenov clarified that he had the code design only, but not the fact of how it functioned.

Mixing services under fire

Semenov’s lawyers portrayed Tornado Cash as a non-profit mixing service that is not considered traditional finance and does not meet the criteria for a “financial institution.” They argued that Storm did not have the controls and did not know whether the Lazarus Group and other identity-obscuring criminals could use the service. The prosecution harshly claimed Storn was accountable for operating the cryptocurrency. This gives the impression that the American government further warns about the threat of crypto mixers.

On April 24, Keonne Rodriguez, the founder and CEO of Samourai Wallet, a cryptocurrency mixer, and his chief technology officer, William Hill, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. The maximum sentence is 20 years, and the maximum sentence for conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business is 5 years. With the latest arrest of the founders of Samourai Wallet, Ki Young Ju, the CEO of crypto-tracing firm CryptoQuant, prompted a discussion that mixing services is mainly not linked to crime.

DisclaimerThe information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Benson Mawira

Benson is a blockchain reporter who has delved into industry news, on-chain analysis, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc.His area of expertise is the cryptocurrency markets, fundamental and technical analysis.With his insightful coverage of everything in Financial Technologies, Benson has garnered a global readership.

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