US Authorities Arrest and Charge Samourai Mixer Operators for Laundering $100 Million: Shocking News Revealed!

The US Department of Justice has accused Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill of laundering over $100 million through the cryptocurrency mixer Samourai Whirlpool, which they operated for nearly a decade.

Rodriguez was arrested earlier this week and is set to appear in court in the US in the coming days. Hill was also arrested in Portugal, and the US government plans to seek his extradition. The operation to shut down Samourai involved law enforcement agencies from Iceland and Portugal, as well as Europol.

In the indictment, it is reported that from 2015 to February 2024, Rodriguez and Hill used the Whirlpool crypto mixer, owned by Samourai, to process over $2 billion of illegal funds.

“Since the launch of the Whirlpool service in 2019 and the Ricochet service in 2017, through these two services operated by Samourai, more than 80,000 BTC (worth over $2 billion USD at the BTC-USD exchange rate at the time of each transaction) have passed,” the indictment states.

In addition to the mixer service, Samourai also offered a service called Ricochet, which allowed users to send cryptocurrency using additional unnecessary intermediary transactions to hinder law enforcement and cryptocurrency exchanges from tracing funds acquired through illegal activities.

Allegedly, the money laundering activities brought the company’s founders around $4.5 million USD in commissions for Whirlpool and Ricochet transactions.

The Samourai Wallet mobile application, downloaded over 100,000 times, allowed users to store private keys for BTC addresses they controlled and anonymously exchange funds with other Samourai users.

Currently, Icelandic law enforcement has seized the Samourai domains (samourai[.]io and samouraiwallet[.]com) and web servers, and the mentioned mobile application has been removed from the Google Play store following an order.

Rodriguez and Hill are charged with conspiracy on two counts: money laundering (maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment) and running an unlicensed money transmitter business (maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment).

“Offering Samourai services as a ‘confidential service,’ the defendants knew that it was a haven for criminals engaged in large-scale money laundering and sanctions evasion,” the Department of Justice stated. “Samourai laundered over $100 million in criminal proceeds, obtained from illegal darknet marketplaces such as Silk Road and Hydra Market; various schemes of electronic and computer fraud (including hacking into web servers, spear phishing, and fraud related to a number of DeFi protocols); and other illegal sources.”

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