Samourai Wallet co-founder pleads not guilty, released on $1M bond

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Keonne Rodriguez, one of two individuals associated with cryptocurrency mixer Samourai Wallet who the United States Justice Department charged with money laundering, has pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

In an April 29 appearance in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business and money laundering. Assistant U.S. Attorneys agreed to a $1 million bond for the Samourai Wallet co-founder, with travel restricted to parts of New York and Pennsylvania when not confined to his home.

Source: PACER

Rodriguez will be largely confined to his residence in Harmony, Pennsylvania and required to wear a location monitoring device. In addition, the terms of his bail prevent him from performing services for Samourai Wallet or engaging in “any cryptocurrency transactions, directly or indirectly” without prior approval. 

William Hill, the chief technology officer of Samourai Wallet, was arrested on April 24 — the same day as Rodriguez — and has not yet appeared in a U.S. courtroom. This is likely due to Hill being arrested in Portugal and authorities working through extradition proceedings. Rodriguez is scheduled to appear in court again on May 14.

Related: Can crypto mixers adapt to survive US authority prosecution?

Both individuals could face up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering charge and five years for the conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business charge. Authorities have already seized control of Samourai Wallet’s servers and domain in Iceland.

The arrests are the latest in a series of crackdowns by the U.S. government against cryptocurrency mixers, with claims the technology has been facilitating money laundering by hacker groups and terrorists. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctioned Blender and Tornado Cash despite criticism from many industry leaders and lawmakers.

Magazine: Tornado Cash 2.0: The race to build safe and legal coin mixers