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Tornado Cash Developers To Face 5 Years Jail Over $1.2B Money-Laundering Case

A Dutch court has convicted Alexey Pertsev, the developer of the crypto mixing platform Tornado Cash, of laundering $1.2 billion in illicit assets. Pertsev, a 31-year-old Russian national, faces a significant sentence of five years in prison following the guilty verdict on May 14.

Pertsev Case Details

Alexey Pertsev, the mastermind behind the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency mixing protocol, has been under arrest in the Netherlands since August 2022, following the blacklisting of Tornado Cash by the United States government. 

The court’s decision was grounded on accusations that Pertsev did not appropriately prevent criminals from exploiting Tornado Cash for money laundering activities.

During the court trial, prosecutors argued that Pertsev failed to take adequate measures to prevent criminals from using Tornado Cash, despite its decentralized design. In contrast, the defense contended that the platform’s decentralized and automated nature exempts Pertsev from accountability for the actions of anonymous users.

Meanwhile, the three-judge panel found Pertsev guilty of money laundering $1.2 billion in illicit assets and is expected to sentence him to five years in prison. His lawyers will have 14 days to appeal the decision.

Tornado Cash’s Functionality 

Tornado Cash functions as a decentralized protocol on the Ethereum blockchain, designed to enhance transaction privacy by blurring transaction histories. Despite its technological purpose, prosecutors claim that legal responsibilities outweighed technological concepts, particularly in preventing platforms from aiding criminal activities.

Misuse of Tornado Cash

Meanwhile, the public prosecutor Martine Boerlage argued that Tornado Cash operated in a structured manner similar to a company, despite claims of leaderless governance.

However, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control reported that Tornado Cash has been used to launder over $7 billion in crypto from hacks and heists. The North Korean cybercrime organization Lazarus Group, suspected in the record $625 million Axie Infinity Ronin Bridge hack in March 2022, is a primary perpetrator.

The guilty verdict against Alexey Pertsev has drawn support and attention from the crypto community, with advocacy efforts aiming to cover his legal fees. Meanwhile, another Tornado Cash developer, Roman Storm, faces similar charges in the United States, with a trial scheduled for September 23 as earlier reported by Coinpedia news.

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