Roman Sterlingov Found Guilty on Four Counts, Court Finds Chainalysis 'Reliable'

"Jurors found Sterlingov guilty on all of the four counts, which included conspiring to money launder, money laundering, and two charges tied to failing to register a money transmitting service," reported Bloomberg. The defense is going to appeal the verdict.

Roman Sterlingov Found Guilty on Four Counts, Court Finds Chainalysis 'Reliable'
  • "A jury on Tuesday concluded Roman Sterlingov, 35, provided a service that jumbled digital tokens to make it more difficult to find the source of proceeds from illegal activities. The government claimed Bitcoin Fog processed more than $400 million in untraceable transactions, including some from illicit markets."
  • "Sterlingov, a Russian-Swiss national who proclaimed his innocence and denied he ever ran Bitcoin Fog, faces up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges. He’s been in custody for almost three years."
"“The defendant set up the whole operation to help criminals hide their assets,” prosecutor Catherine Pelker told jurors during closing statements. Pelker said it is clear from the evidence that Sterlingov was “instrumental” in setting up Bitcoin Fog."
  • "The government said it found some small-value transactions that originated from an account registered in Sterlingov’s name that appeared to test Bitcoin Fog before it launched in 2011. Sterlingov has said he was a user of Bitcoin Fog, but didn’t collect fees as the government claimed."
“There is no evidence anywhere that Mr. Sterlingov operated Bitcoin Fog,” including no eyewitness accounts or server logs, his defense lawyer, Tor Ekeland, told jurors during closing statements.
  • "The government didn’t find any references to Bitcoin Fog on Sterlingov’s electronic devices or notebooks, Ekeland said. He also questioned the logic of Sterlingov using a secretive multistep process to fund Bitcoin Fog when the transaction started with an easily-traceable account registered in Sterlingov’s name."
  • "The defense also questioned the reliability of Wall Street-backed firm Chainalysis, which the Justice Department and Treasury Department have consistently used to help trace the flow of crypto in money laundering cases."
"As previously explained on the record and further explained above, the Court finds that the government has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the blockchain analysis generated by Chainalysis Reactor is the product of reliable principles and methods, and the Court, accordingly, DENIES defendant's requests to exclude the testimony and evidence based on that analysis," was ordered on February 29, 2024.
  • "The government said that the company is reliable and that it used other methods to link Sterlingov to operating Bitcoin Fog," writes Bloomberg.
  • Tor Ekeland said the defense is going to appeal the verdict.

Bloomberg Article / Archive
Chainalysis Evidence Order / Archive
Case Filings