Samourai Wallet Co-Founder Released on Bail, Vows to Contest All Charges

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William Lonergan Hill, co-founder of Samourai Wallet, has been granted bail by the U.S. government as per a District Court, S.D. New York document. Hill was arrested in April on charges of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Hill’s co-founder, Keonne Rodriguez, also nabbed for similar charges has already pleaded not guilty and was released on a $1 million bond. However, despite the bail granted to Hill, there is still dispute as to where he should reside during his release.

Samourai Wallet Case: Contentious Bail Terms and Robust Package

Although Hill’s legal defense team are pushing for him to be allowed to reside with his wife in Portugal, the authorities are against such. The Department of Justice prosecutors prefer he resides in his sister’s basement in Brooklyn, and not leave the country.

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In any case, if Hill’s defense team gets their way, the bail package, which is already a hefty sum involving at least $3 million in assets, could increase to $4.4 million. Meanwhile, Hill’s family are vouching that he would adhere to the terms spelt out in his bail conditions.

Hill’s Legal Defense and Arguments

As far as the charges on money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business is concerned, Hill’s legal team is preparing to challenge them. However, the trial may not commence until mid-2025 due to the amount of discoveries anticipated. There are also pre-trial motions and actions to consider.

Notably, the defense team proposes to challenge the money laundering charges leveled against Hill. In one argument, Hill’s lawyers maintain that if the Samourai Wallet was intended for money laundering, it would not have been listed on Google’s App Store. According to records, the Samourai Wallet app launched in May 2015 was available until April 2024 when it got delisted following the founders’ arrests.

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Additionally, the defense challenges the classification of Samourai Wallet as a money-transmitting business, arguing that under FinCEN’s guidance at the time, it did not have obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act to prevent money laundering.

Support from Prominent Figures

While Hill will appear at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 9 or 10, notable figures are rising to his support. The court filing shows that Senators Cynthia Lummis and Ron Wyden wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

They argued that prosecuting developers of non-custodial crypto software as unregistered money transmitters contradicts established FinCEN guidance and could stifle innovation and undermine confidence in the DOJ’s respect for the rule of law.

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