The developer behind Tornado Cash contests allegations and submits a motion to dismiss, supported by legal arguments.

Roman Storm, one of the co-founders of the cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, has taken action by filing a motion to dismiss all three charges leveled against him. He contends that he did not engage in any money laundering activities nor did he violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Storm’s legal team submitted the motion to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 29. They argue that Storm cannot be held responsible for conspiring to launder funds.

According to his lawyers, Tornado Cash was created, rendered immutable, and made publicly accessible before it was utilized by the hacking groups sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Treasury. They maintain that Storm had limited control over preventing a “sanctioned entity from using it” at the time the alleged misconduct took place.

Tornado Cash, developed by Storm, Allegedly Aided Lazarus in Bypassing Sanctions

The allegations against Storm center on the assertion that Tornado Cash facilitated the North Korean Lazarus Group’s efforts to circumvent U.S. sanctions, potentially aiding the country’s regime in financing its nuclear program.

Storm’s legal representatives argued that Tornado Cash did not function as a money-transmitting business because it did not impose fees for fund transfers, and users retained complete control over their cryptocurrencies. They maintained that Storm’s objective was to create software solutions that provided financial privacy for law-abiding cryptocurrency users, asserting that the charges are flawed and should be dismissed.

In September 2023, Storm pleaded not guilty to all charges and was granted release on a $2 million bond shortly after his arrest. Currently, he is subject to travel restrictions, limiting his movements to specific regions of New York, New Jersey, Washington, and California.

These developments occur amid the U.S. government’s ongoing crackdown on crypto-mixing services. Most recently, the founder of Bitcoin Fog, a $400 million crypto-mixing service, was convicted of money laundering. Roman Sterlingov was found guilty of money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and violations of the D.C. Money Transmitters Act.

Storm Appeals for Backing Amidst Money Laundering Allegations

Earlier this year, Storm reached out to advocates for the right to privacy, seeking support as he prepared for his impending criminal trial. He expressed confidence in his legal team’s ability to mount a robust defense for his trial scheduled in September 2024.

Storm emphasized the broader implications of his case, stating, “Whether you’re a passionate developer like me involved with Web3 or just care about software and privacy, this legal battle will affect you. This case will set a major precedent for years to come.”

In response to Storm’s plea, the Arbitrum DAO put forth a proposal to allocate approximately $1.3 million worth of Arbitrum (ARB) tokens from the community wallet to aid Storm. However, the proposal was subsequently withdrawn by the submitter without providing any explanation for the decision.

Furthermore, a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe aimed at raising funds for Storm and Pertsev’s legal fees was abruptly terminated on February 16. The campaign was halted due to concerns over a potential breach of the platform’s terms of service, which could expose GoFundMe, its staff, or users to legal risks.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury took action by adding Tornado Cash to its Specially Designated Nationals list, effectively prohibiting Americans from utilizing this mixer. This move further underscores the gravity of the legal challenges faced by Storm and the broader implications for the cryptocurrency community.

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