HomeMalware & ThreatsTornado Cash Developer Receives 5-Year Prison Sentence

Tornado Cash Developer Receives 5-Year Prison Sentence

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In a recent development, a Dutch court has sentenced Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev to five years and four months in prison for his involvement in money laundering activities. The 31-year-old Russian national was found guilty of developing and maintaining cryptocurrency anonymization software that was used to launder over $2 billion in digital cash between July 2019 and his arrest in August 2022.

The District Court of Oost-Brabant stated that the cryptomixer created by Pertsev allowed users to pool money into multiple wallets and withdraw funds from different accounts, making it difficult to trace the origins of the funds. The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned the mixer in 2022 after uncovering that North Korean hackers had laundered more than $455 million through it.

Pertsev, along with his fellow Russian nationals Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, developed Tornado Cash. Storm has filed a motion to dismiss his criminal case in the U.S., but federal prosecutors have contested this. Both Storm and Semenov are facing similar charges in the United States, including conspiracy to commit money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

According to the Dutch court, hackers laundered Ether coins from at least 36 hacks totaling $1.2 billion through Tornado Cash. The court emphasized that Pertsev was aware of the illicit activities surrounding the mixer and had shown negligence by turning a blind eye to the misuse of the software.

The court rejected Pertsev’s defense that Tornado Cash was intended for legitimate and privacy-focused use, stating that the developer and his co-founders were responsible for not implementing mechanisms to prevent its misuse. The court accused Pertsev of creating a tool that facilitated criminal activities and terrorism financing without taking any responsibility for its misuse.

Furthermore, the court highlighted that Pertsev was actively involved in chat groups discussing the use of hacked proceeds in Tornado Cash and failed to take action when victims of hacks or investigative authorities reported their concerns. The court concluded that Tornado Cash was designed to cater to criminal use without any safeguards in place to prevent abuse.

In light of these findings, the Dutch court deemed Pertsev guilty of money laundering activities and sentenced him to more than five years in prison. The case serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with developing and utilizing cryptocurrency anonymization software for illicit purposes.

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