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Tornado Cash Co-Founder Faces DOJ Opposition in Lawsuit Dismissal Effort

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Tornado Cash Co-Founder Faces DOJ Opposition in Lawsuit Dismissal Effort

  • The Lazarus Group of North Korea and others allegedly laundered their funds via Tornado Cash.
  • Storm was arrested in September 2023 and promptly freed on a $2 million bail.

An effort to have Roman Semenov, co-founder of Tornado Cash, dismissed from charges of conspiracy and money laundering has been opposed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). It said that early-stage motions are not appropriate for bringing forward contested facts for jury consideration, as the defense had done in its submission.

The prosecution outlined its case for holding the Tornado Cash co-founder accountable for the charges against him in the Department of Justice’s response. The defense’s portrayal of Tornado Cash was challenged by the DOJ, who pointed out that it was created in 2019 as a cryptocurrency mixer. A user interface, smart contracts, a network of “relayers,” and a website make up the service.

Not Responsible for Implementation

The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Roman Storm and another developer Roman Semenov with conspiring to launder money, running an unregistered money transmitter, and breaching sanctions via their creation of Tornado Cash, a business that mixes cryptocurrencies. Also, the Lazarus Group of North Korea and others allegedly laundered their funds via Tornado Cash, according to U.S. officials.

Storm was arrested in September 2023 and promptly freed on a $2 million bail after pleading not guilty to all allegations. But by the end of March, Storm’s lawyers had already argued that the government had no basis to accuse him, and they wanted the case dropped. Although he did help with the code’s design, Semenov insists he is not responsible for its implementation.

Moreover, Tornado Cash is not a “financial institution” and does not function as a custodial mixing service, according to Semenov’s legal team’s request to dismiss. They stated Storm couldn’t stop groups like Lazarus Group from utilizing the service since it was beyond Storm’s control.

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