News - US authorities shut down illegal cryptomixer Samourai Wallet

By Luc Vesters

US authorities shut down illegal cryptomixer Samourai Wallet

Scams, crime and fraud

The publishers of the cryptomixer "Samourai Wallet" have been arrested in the United States. They are accused of money laundering and unauthorized transfer of funds. According to the US Department of Justice, "unlawful transactions" totaling more than US$2 billion were allegedly processed through Samourai Wallet and "more than US$100 million in criminal proceeds" were laundered.

The suspects are Keonne Rodriguez, CEO and co-founder, and William Lonergan Hill, CTO and also co-founder of Samourai Wallet. According to the Justice Department, Rodriguez was arrested in the U.S. and Hill was detained in Portugal. The U.S. will request his extradition. The cryptomixer's Web server and domain have been seized. The application was also removed from the Google Play Store. It had been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Samourai Wallet was developed in 2015 and, since then, more than $100 million in "criminal proceeds" have allegedly been laundered through the cryptomixer, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Some of the money came from illegal dark web markets such as Silk Road and Hydra Market, as well as from "various telecom and computer fraud schemes."

The mixer allegedly served as a "haven for criminals to launder money on a large scale," according to prosecutor Damian Williams. The defendants allegedly "knowingly facilitated the laundering of more than $100 million in criminal proceeds from Silk Road, Hydra Market and a number of other computer hacking and fraud campaigns." According to the report, they would have known that money transferred through the blending service came from criminal proceeds.

On Twitter, they allegedly openly called for "laundering criminal proceeds through Samourai." In June 2022, Rodriguez allegedly advertised the mixer to Russian oligarchs to circumvent sanctions.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to launder money is 20 years in prison, while operating an unlicensed money transmission business can be punished with a maximum penalty of five years.

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