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Tornado Cash founders charged, arrested in the US

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on Aug 23, 2023
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  • Tornado Cash founders Roman Storm and Roman Semenov have been charged in the US.
  • The US government alleges money laundering and sanctions violations, including links to hacker group.
  • Tornado Cash is a cryptocurrency mixing platform.

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Roman Storm and Roman Semenox, the founders of crypto mixer Tornado Cash have been charged and arrested in the US, according to details of an indictment unsealed today by the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York.

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The indictment and arrest relate to alleged money laundering and sanctions violations by the two, with the US indicating Tornado Cash helped to launder over $1 billion. The charges also relate to allegations that Storm and Semenox laundered “hundreds of millions of dollars” for the North Korea-affiliated hackers Lazarus Group.

Tornado Cash founders arrested

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According to today’s press release, Roman Storm has been arrested and will be arraigned at the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.  Semenov was still at large, the government noted. It added:

“The charges in the Indictment arise from the defendants’ alleged creation, operation, and promotion of Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixer that facilitated more than $1 billion in money laundering transactions and laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for the Lazarus Group, the sanctioned North Korean cybercrime organization.”

US Attorney Damian Williams said:

“Today’s indictment is a reminder that money laundering through cryptocurrency transactions violates the law, and those who engage in such laundering will face prosecution.”

Apart from charges for alleged money laundering, the Tornado Cash founders face one count of conspiracy to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Act. The maximum sentence for violating the Act is 20 years in prison.  Storm and Semenov also face charges around the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Tornado Cash in August 2022, a decision heavily criticized across the crypto industry. Meanwhile, a developer for the crypto mixing platform was arrested and charged in the Netherlands.

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