US DOJ Opposes MTD Request By Tornado Cash Founder


The Department of Justice (DOJ) is standing firm against the Motion To Dismiss (MTD) petition to drop charges against Roman Semenov, the co-founder of Tornado Cash. 

Roman Storm and his fellow developer, Roman Semenov, has been charged by the DOJ with multiple allegations which include conspiracy to commit money laundering, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and violating sanctions through the creation of Tornado Cash, a crypto-mixing service. 

The US authorities alleged that groups like North Korea’s Lazarus Group which had been accused of being the mastermind behind the attacks on many crypto firms utilized Tornado Cash for money laundering purposes. 

Tornado Cash Leaders in Chaos

Roman Storm has been at the center of a heated legal battle since 2023 and was released on $2 million bail after his initial arrest. However, he was placed on a travel ban but can only travel within certain parts of New York, New Jersey, Washington, and California.

In late March, Storm’s lawyers tried to get the charges dropped by saying that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him. Recently, Storm’s defense has been bolstered by amicus briefs filed by three prominent crypto advocacy which are challenging the government’s interpretation of the case.

The founders of Samourai Wallet, Keonne Rodriguez, and William Hill, have also faced the legal war. They were arrested on April 24 and were charged with money laundering conspiracy and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. 

In response to the arrest of the Samourai Founders, Young Ju, the CEO of CryptoQuant, said in their support that crypto mixing services are not necessarily criminal.

It has been quite intense since the U.S government is cracking down crypto-mixing services.

The DOJ is not letting go

In the DOJ’s response, the prosecutors explained why the Tornado Cash co-founder should be held accountable for the alleged crimes. 

Damian Williams and his team of prosecutors claimed that Semenov was responsible for running the cryptocurrency mixer. He was accused of creating systems that helped criminals remain anonymous. Ultimately, they claimed he did not make enough changes to prevent the use of sanctioned addresses.

The defendant, however, made it clear that he helped design the code but shouldn’t be held responsible for who uses the service which included entities like Lazarus Group.

In his defense, his lawyers argued that the firm does not meet the requirements to be called a ‘financial institution’ as it doesn’t offer the service that keeps users’ money. 

The DOJ believes that the defense’s filing brings up disputed facts that should be considered by a jury later on, rather than at this early stage.

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