A person being arrested
This is a representational image. paologhedini/Pixabay


  • Roman Storm is one of the founders of the cryptocurrency mixing tool Tornado Cash
  • His laywer said he's disappointed his client was charged even though he just helped develop the software
  • The lawyer added the prosecutors' "novel legal theory" has "dangerous implications for all software developers"

Roman Storm, one of the founders of the Russian cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, was out on bail a day after he was arrested Wednesday on money laundering and several other charges, including allegedly operating a crypto scheme that was said to have helped North Korea launder billions of dollars.

Brian Klein, Storm's lawyer, said in a tweet he was disappointed his client was charged even though he just helped develop the software, adding the prosecutors' "novel legal theory" has "dangerous implications for all software developers."

"Pleased to share that my client Roman Storm is already out on bail, although I remain very disappointed that the prosecutors charged him because he helped develop software - their novel legal theory has dangerous implications for all software developers," Kelin said in the tweet Thursday.

Last week, authorities charged Roman Storm and Roman Semenov with federal money laundering and sanctions violations.

The FBI arrested Storm last Wednesday, while Semenov was still at large.

The U.S. Department of Justice deemed both Tornado Cash founders responsible for laundering over $1 billion in "criminal proceeds" through their mixing tool, including "hundreds of millions" for the notorious North Korean hacking group Lazarus.

"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. 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," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

"Today's announcement should remind criminal organizations everywhere in the world that they are neither untraceable nor anonymous. You can't hide from us behind a keyboard — whether you're a hacker or facilitator," FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said in a press release last week.

"Those charged today engaged in a conspiracy to launder money for cybercriminals, including for a North Korean cybercrime organization seeking to evade sanctions. As we have with this operation, the FBI is going to keep dismantling the infrastructure used by cyber criminals to commit and profit from their crimes and holding anyone who assists those criminals accountable," he added.

Reacting to the arrest, Bitcoin educator Dan Held said, "Privacy is a fundamental human right. Free speech is a fundamental human right. Tornado Cash founders being prosecuted for just creating software (speech) to protect our privacy is a dangerous step toward an authoritarian future. We're not just fighting for our financial freedom, we're also fighting for all our freedoms."

YouTuber, who uses the handle BitBoy Crypto, also commented about the indictment of Tornado Cash founders, calling it a farce and warning the crypto community that no one is safe.

"The Tornado Cash founders facing prison in U.S. for laundering $1B is an absolute farce. If you haven't figured it out yet, no one in crypto is safe here."