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03 April 2014

Lawyer of alleged Silk Road founder: No currency = no money laundering

Alleged Silk Road founder, Ross Ulbricht

The attorney for alleged Silk Road founder is asking that the money laundering charge against Ross Ulbricht be dismissed, arguing the black-market website operated in bitcoin, ruled a 'non-currency' in a recent decision by a US government agency.

The motion submitted by Ulbricht's lawyer, Joshua Dratel, was made public on Tuesday by the Wired.

The document shows Dratel was quick to react to the new definition given to bitcoin only a week ago by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which explained that virtual money is treated as property and is not treated as currency.
The money-laundering indictment requires a 'financial transaction' to be carried out with the involvement of either 'funds' or 'monetary instruments', Dratel argues, adding that bitcoin appears to be neither.

Thus, an essential element of 1956, a financial transaction, is absent because a necessary component thereof, either 'funds' or 'monetary instruments', is lacking. Consequently, it is respectfully submitted that Count Four must be dismissed, Dratel says in his motion.

Apart from the money laundering one, Ulbricht's lawyer is asking to dismiss all of the three other charges his client is facing. Those include drug trafficking, computer hacking and engaging in a criminal enterprise.

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