Tornado Cash Developer Fails to Mix Himself Out of 64-Month Prison Sentence

Tornado Cash Developer Fails to Mix Himself Out of 64-Month Prison Sentence


The
Oost-Brabant district court in the Netherlands has sentenced Alexey Pertsev,
co-developer of the popular cryptocurrency mixing tool Tornado Cash, to 64
months in prison for his role in creating and maintaining the platform.

The court
alleges that Tornado Cash enables “criminal activity and terrorism”
by concealing the origin, destination and ownership of the crypto transactions.

Tornado Cash Developer Sentenced
to 5 Years and 4 Months Behind Bars

Pertsev,
along with two other individuals, developed Tornado Cash to offer privacy
solutions for the crypto community. However, the court’s investigation revealed
that the tool allegedly facilitated the laundering of approximately $1.2
billion to $2.2 billion in Ethereum (ETH), derived from various thefts and
hacks.

Despite
Pertsev’s assertion that Tornado Cash was not designed to facilitate criminal
activities, the court determined that the tool was actively used for money
laundering. The court highlighted that Pertsev and his co-founders were
accountable for the operation of Tornado Cash and its “lack of measures to
prevent abuse,” stating they developed it with full knowledge of its
potential for illicit use.

A crypto
mixer, also known as a cryptocurrency tumbler, is a service that mixes various
transactions to obscure the origins and destinations of crypto assets. This
process enhances privacy and anonymity for users by breaking the link between
the sender and receiver of a transaction.

The court
pointed out that approximately $450 million in cryptocurrency, stolen by the
North Korean hacking group Lazarus in the “Axie Infinity hack,” was
funneled through Tornado Cash and laundered, underscoring the tool’s
“significant value to the criminal underworld.”

In addition
to the prison sentence, the court decided not to return Pertsev’s seized
Porsche and roughly €1.9 million in cryptocurrency.

The first
issues for Tornado Cash began in 2022
when the platform was blacklisted in the
United States.

Separate Case in the US

Roman
Storm, another co-founder of Tornado Cash, was arrested in the United States
last year
, while the third co-founder, Roman Semenov, remains a fugitive and
faces money laundering charges.

Finance
Magnates reported
in August 2023 that Storm had been charged in the US with assisting
criminals, including hackers linked to the North Korea-associated Lazarus
Group, in laundering over $1 billion in illicit funds. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Storm in Washington.

The US
Department of Justice charged Semenov with conspiracy to commit money
laundering, sanctions violations, and operating an unlicensed
money-transmitting business. According to the agency, the executives received
complaints and calls from victims of cybercrimes. Still, they deliberately avoided implementing controls to prevent criminals from using the platform to launder
illicitly obtained cryptocurrencies.

Separately,
the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a sanctions
designation against Semenov
, following a similar sanction placed on Tornado
Cash last year.

This article was written by Damian Chmiel at www.financemagnates.com.



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