The founders of Tornado Cash, a crypto mixer, have been officially accused by the US government. Roman Storm and Roman Semenox have both been charged with crimes like laundering over $1 billion and breaking sanctions. This news came out when the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York revealed the charges today. Roman Storm has been arrested today.
The charges in the Indictment are about the defendants creating and running Tornado Cash, a way for people to move over $1 billion illegally. They also helped the Lazarus Group, a North Korean group that shouldn’t be doing certain things, clean up hundreds of millions of dollars they got from hacking.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said, “As alleged, Tornado Cash was an infamous cryptocurrency mixer that laundered more than $1 billion in criminal proceeds and violated U.S. sanctions. Roman Storm and Roman Semenov allegedly operated Tornado Cash and knowingly facilitated this money laundering.”
He added, “While publicly claiming to offer a technically sophisticated privacy service, Storm and Semenov in fact knew that they were helping hackers and fraudsters conceal the fruits of their crimes. Today’s indictment is a reminder that money laundering through cryptocurrency transactions violates the law, and those who engage in such laundering will face prosecution.”
Roman Storm and Roman Semenox were part of a trio who started Tornado Cash, a service that helped people move cryptocurrency without being traced. They set up the main parts of this service, paid for what was needed to run it, and earned lots of money from it.
Around April and May of 2022, it’s believed that the Tornado Cash service was used by the Lazarus Group, which is a North Korean cybercrime group that’s not allowed to do certain things, to clean up a lot of money – hundreds of millions of dollars – that they got from hacking.