Dutch Court Sentences Tornado Cash Developer To 64 Months For Money Laundering

The Oost-Brabant district court in the Netherlands has sentenced Alexey Pertsev, co-developer of Tornado Cash, to 64 months in prison for his involvement in creating and maintaining the crypto mixing tool. The court alleges that Tornado Cash enables “criminal activity and terrorism.” 

Pertsev, along with two other individuals, developed Tornado Cash, a tool for concealing the origin, ownership, and destination of cryptocurrency transactions.

Tornado Cash Accused Of Facilitating $2B Money Laundering Operation

The court’s investigation revealed that Tornado Cash allegedly facilitated the laundering of approximately $1.2 billion in Ethereum (ETH), derived from 36 different thefts or hacks. However, when considering parameters for selecting these hacks, the estimated amount laundered could exceed $2.2 billion. 

The court also acknowledged the possibility of cryptocurrency laundering from other crimes. Despite Pertsev’s claim that Tornado Cash aimed to offer privacy solutions for the crypto community without intending to facilitate criminal activities, the court found the tool actively involved in money laundering.

The court emphasized that Pertsev and his co-founders were responsible for the tool’s operation and its “lack of measures to prevent abuse.” The court alleges that they had developed Tornado Cash with full knowledge of its potential use for money laundering

The court further claims that Pertsev was aware of discussions in chat groups about stolen Ether and cryptocurrency with criminal origins being deposited into Tornado Cash. Yet, he continued to develop and offer the tool without incorporating restrictions or controls.

Arrest And Charges

Tornado Cash was designed to provide maximum anonymity and concealment, rendering identification, control, or investigation challenging. The Dutch court contends that its automatic execution of concealment acts for money laundering made it attractive to criminal users. 

The court noted that nearly $450 million in cryptocurrency stolen in the infamous “Axie Infinity hack” by the notorious North Korean hacking organization Lazarus Group was deposited into Tornado Cash and subsequently laundered, highlighting the tool’s “significant value to the criminal underworld.”

In sentencing Pertsev to 64 months in prison, the court agreed with the prosecution’s demand. The court also ruled against returning Pertsev’s seized Porsche and approximately €1.9 million worth of cryptocurrency. 

As Bitcoinist reported, one of the other founders of Tornado Cash, Roman Storm, was arrested in the United States last year, while the third co-founder, Roman Semenov, remains a fugitive and has been charged with money laundering.

At the time of reporting, the total valuation of the cryptocurrency market stands at $2.1 trillion. The price of Bitcoin (BTC), the leading cryptocurrency in the market, is currently trading at $61,800. This places Bitcoin’s support line at $61,000 under scrutiny, which is crucial in preventing further downward movements.

Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com