Tornado Cash Founders Face Major Legal Issues 

by | Aug 31, 2023 | Latest, Social Justice | 0 comments

In the dynamic world of cryptocurrency, Tornado Cash has emerged as a prominent player. However, recent developments have put the company and its founders, Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, under scrutiny, leading to significant ramifications in the tech and legal spheres. 

Founders Charged by U.S. Attorney’s Office 

On a recent Wednesday, a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York brought to light that the founders of Tornado Cash, Roman Storm, and Roman Semenov were officially charged1. They are accused of engaging in a conspiracy to commit money laundering, sanctions violations, and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. 

The Indictment 

An indictment unveiled recently has brought these charges against the founders. Roman Storm has already been arrested in Washington, but Semenov is still at large according to the Southern District of New York (SDNY). 

“Roman Storm and Roman Semenov in fact knew that they were helping hackers and fraudsters conceal the fruits of their crimes.” – U.S. Attorney Damian Williams 

The Role of Tornado Cash 

Tornado Cash, a platform established in 2019, is a cryptocurrency mixing service that provides users with the ability to conceal the origin of their crypto funds during transactions. This service, although beneficial to individuals seeking privacy, has also been utilized to render potentially tainted crypto funds less identifiable. 

Decentralized Nature 

During an interview with CoinDesk in January 2022, Semenov emphasized the decentralized nature of Tornado Cash. He mentioned that the protocol was specifically designed to be “unstoppable”. He also added that the team had little control over the protocol, thereby making it difficult for them to assist in investigations. 

Legal Repercussions 

The third co-founder of Tornado Cash, Alexey Pertsev, although not named in the recent indictment, is also facing legal consequences. Pertsev, who is based in Amsterdam, is being investigated for his role in the operations of Tornado Cash. 

Money Laundering Allegations 

Tornado Cash’s platform has allegedly been involved in transactions amounting to over $1 billion related to money laundering according to the SDNY. This includes over $455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group, a North Korean cybercrime organization, as per a statement from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) last year. 

Sanctions by OFAC 

In August 2022, Tornado Cash was sanctioned by OFAC for reportedly enabling over $7 billion in crypto to be laundered through its platform. From that point forward, U.S. citizens and businesses were prohibited from using its service. 

Involvement of Other Agencies 

Alongside the SDNY, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department, and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation unit have also been involved in the charges brought against the founders of Tornado Cash on Wednesday. 


In conclusion, the charges brought against the founders of Tornado Cash underscore the ongoing scrutiny and regulatory challenges faced by businesses in the cryptocurrency sector. As this case unfolds, it will undoubtedly influence the legal and regulatory landscape for cryptocurrency businesses worldwide. 

As we continue to monitor this situation, we remain committed to providing the latest tech news and updates regarding Tornado Cash and other significant developments in the cryptocurrency world. Stay tuned for more updates 

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