America Treasury’s Workplace of International Belongings Management (OFAC) added Roman Semenov, one of many co-founders of the Twister Money cryptocurrency “mixer,” to its record of Specifically Designated Nationals and Blocked Individuals (SDN) on Aug. 23. One other co-founder, Roman Storm, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Inner Income Service Legal Investigation division in Washington state the identical day.
Semenov and Storm are being charged with conspiracy to commit cash laundering, conspiracy to commit sanctions violations and conspiracy to function an unlicensed cash transmitting enterprise in an indictment unsealed on Aug. 23. The primary two counts every carry a most sentence of 20 years in jail. The cash transmitting cost is punishable by as much as 5 years’ imprisonment.
Semenov stays at massive. The third Twister Money co-founder, Alexey Pertsev, was arrested within the Netherlands on cash laundering fees in August 2022.
U.S. Legal professional for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams mentioned in an announcement launched by the Justice Division (DOJ):
“As alleged […] Whereas publicly claiming to supply a technically subtle privateness service, Storm and Semenov in truth knew that they had been serving to hackers and fraudsters conceal the fruits of their crimes.”
The regulation enforcement actions are a continuation of a U.S. authorities crackdown on Twister Money that started final yr. In August 2022, OFAC positioned 44 USD Coin (USDC) and Ether (ETH) addresses on the SDN record, successfully stopping U.S. residents from utilizing the service.
OFAC’s sanctioning of Twister Money prompted a backlash within the crypto group. Coinbase backed a swimsuit filed by six people that alleged the Treasury Division exceeded its authority in sanctioning the mixer. Advocacy group Coin Middle filed an identical swimsuit. Professional-crypto member of the U.S. Home of Representatives Tom Emmer additionally wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen questioning the transfer.
Each the DOJ and OFAC particularly consult with Twister Money’s function in laundering funds of the North Korean-linked hackers Lazarus Group, which can be on the SDN record, however Twister Money has been implicated in a number of different hacks as effectively. All informed, the mixer has laundered over $1 billion in ill-gotten positive factors, based on DOJ allegations.