The US District Court Judge in the Silk Road case has ruled* that it is not a defense to a money laundering charge that the defendant used Bitcoins. The Court held held that the money laundering statute is broad enough to encompass the use of Bitcoins in financial transactions, and that any other interpretation is nonsense. Ross William Ulbricht faces a carload of charges, including Continuing Criminal Enterprise, the so-called "kingpin" statute.
The defendant's counsel had argued that, since both the Internal Revenue Service, and FinCEN, have rendered opinions to the effect that Bitcoin is something other than money, the money laundering conspiracy charge against Ulbricht should be dismissed. The Court ruled that the term "financial transactions" is broadly defined, and that US Government agencies do not have the power to define money laundering laws.
Perhaps this will now put to an end the arguments of defense lawyers regarding Bitcoin transactions as being incapable of being considered money laundering offenses.
* United States vs. Ulbricht, Case No.: 14-cr-00068 (SD NY) [51-page Opinion and Order, July 9, 2014].
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