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Founders of Crypto Mixer Accused of Laundering $1 Billion

Department of Justice: ‘You Can’t Hide From Us Behind a Keyboard — Whether You’re a Hacker or Facilitator’

Roman Storm and Roman Semenov were indicted federally on charges of conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to violate sanctions laws, and operation of an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Storm was arrested in Washington, and Semenov remains at large.

Prosecutors allege that Storm and Semenov intentionally designed Tornado Cash to let cyber criminals anonymize transfers of funds on the blockchain. The system was used to launder more than $1 billion in digital currency, violating U.S. sanctions, the indictment says.

Earlier this spring, Tornado Cash is believed to have aided in laundering part of the $600 million stolen by hackers sponsored by North Korea in a March attack on the Ronin Network, an Ethereum sidechain. Although the company had already put sanctions screening in place, Storm and Semenov reportedly used deceptive compliance practices to keep processing illicit transactions, prosecutors said.

“As alleged, Tornado Cash was an infamous cryptocurrency mixer that laundered more than $1 billion in criminal proceeds and violated U.S. sanctions,” Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a statement. “Roman Storm and Roman Semenov allegedly operated Tornado Cash and knowingly facilitated this money laundering.”

These charges come amid a national cryptocurrency crackdown by the Department of Justice aimed at those facilitating cybercrime and evading sanctions. This action follows last year’s imprisonment of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev by Dutch officials.

The founders of the cryptocurrency mixing service, Tornado Cash were charged Thursday with allegedly helping to launder more than $1 billion in digital currency, including funds taken by North Korean hackers.

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