Roman Storm, a key developer behind cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, entered a plea of not guilty to multiple criminal charges on September 6, according to Inner City Press. The charges, which were initially announced on August 23, include conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit sanctions violations, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
Prosecutors claimed that Storm, through Tornado Cash, assisted the North Korean state hacking organization Lazarus Group. Although Tornado Cash had legitimate privacy applications as a coin mixer, it could also have been used for money laundering purposes.
During the proceedings, prosecutors stated their intention to obtain discovery materials from GitHub and revealed that they have a large volume of Russian-language data from Dutch authorities, amounting to “multiple terabytes.” The handling of classified materials was also discussed with the judge. It was acknowledged by prosecutors that another individual accused in the case, previously identified as Roman Semenov, remains a fugitive outside of the United States.
Finally, prosecutors agreed to release Storm on a $2 million bond, secured by his Washington residence, by September 15. Storm’s Russian passport has been seized, and his movements are restricted to certain parts of the United States. It is expected that a trial will take place on November 30.
Connections to other crypto cases
Inner City Press highlighted connections between this case and other high-profile cryptocurrency cases. It noted that Assistant U.S. Attorney Thane Rehn, who is involved in the current case, is also a prosecutor in the case against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
Inner City Press also pointed out that Storm’s lawyer is Brian Klein, who previously represented Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum developer charged and convicted of sanctions violations related to North Korea.
All of the aforementioned 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) heavily involved in prosecuting cryptocurrency-related crimes.
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