Tornado Cash Co-Founder Seeks To Dismiss Charges – Details

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The co-founder of Tornado Cash, Roman Storm, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges levied against him by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Southern District of New York. In a petition submitted on March 29, Storm’s lawyers have laid out several arguments to secure the freedom of the client, including invoking the First Amendment Protection Act.

DOJ Charges Are “Fatally Flawed,” Storm’s Lawyers Say

On August 23, 2023, the US State Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Merrick B. Garland, alongside key staff of the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced an indictment against Storm and Roman Semenov, two of the co-founders of popular crypto mixer platform Tornado Cash.

The DOJ stated it was charging both individuals for their alleged role in the “creation, operation, and promotion” of Tornado cash which it claims has functioned as a platform for the money laundering of over $1 billion, including hundreds of millions of dollars for notorious North Korean hackers known as the Lazarus Group. 

In its lawsuit statement, the DOJ accused both defendants of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Acts (IEEPA), and one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

Analyzing these allegations, the lawyers for Storm, who has since been arrested, have described the DOJ’s petition as “fatally flawed” and are seeking a total dismissal of all accusations. To begin, the defense states in its motion that Tornado Cash cannot be categorized as a “money transmitting business” as the platform charged no fees for its services and allowed users to keep total control of their digital assets in any transaction. 

Furthermore, Storm’s lawyers also expressed that the charge of a money laundering conspiracy was rather invalid as the defendant never had an intention to conduct such a crime using Tornado Cash, nor did he have an agreement with any party or entity that has used the crypto mixer platform for any illicit purposes. 

Finally, the motion challenges the alleged conspiracy to willfully breach the IEEPA by stating that Storm’s involvement in the creation of Tornado Cash is part of the defendant expressing his First Amendment rights. The defense argues that the writing of computer code to transmit information is referred to as a form of speech (informational materials exemption) which falls under the First Amendment Protections according to US laws.

Crypto Community Stands Strong With Tornado Cash Co-Founders

The indictment of Roman Storm and other Tornado Cash developers, including Alexey Pertsev, who is currently facing trial in the Netherlands for similar reasons, has attracted a lot of attention as some crypto enthusiasts argue that developers should not be responsible for the individual use of their projects. 

As Bitcoinist earlier reported,  prominent supporters of the Tornado Cash co-founders include Ethereum developer Preston Van Loon and the Blockchain Association in Washington. It can be assumed these cases hold significant weight on the future of blockchain technology as potential victories for the government could discourage developers’ participation in the crypto ecosystem.

  Tornado CashTotal crypto market valued at $2.559 trillion on the daily chart | Source: TOTAL chart on

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