Tornado Cash Founder Found Guilty and Sentenced to 64 Months in Prison

by BSC News

May 14, 2024


The court found Pertsev guilty of laundering $1.2 billion in illicit assets through the crypto mixing platform, despite it being non-custodial.

Alexey Pertsev, the developer of Tornado Cash, has been found guilty of money laundering by Dutch judges at the 's-Hertogenbosch court on May 14. 


Pertsev received a sentence of 64 months in prison for allegedly laundering $1.2 billion in illicit assets through the crypto mixing platform. Despite Tornado Cash being a non-custodial protocol—meaning it does not hold or control the funds passing through it—Pertsev was convicted.


A Dutch judge declared Tornado Cash "intended for criminals" and stated, "the criminal user is fully facilitated." Between July 9, 2019, and August 10, 2022, the court found Pertsev made "a habit of committing money laundering" with Tornado Cash. 


The judge emphasized that Pertsev should have been more suspicious about the possible criminal origins of the transactions on the platform.


Pertsev's legal team has 14 days to appeal the court's decision. 

Background and Arrest

Pertsev's legal troubles began in August 2022 when he was jailed in the Netherlands shortly after Tornado Cash was blacklisted by the U.S. government. The U.S. Treasury alleged that Tornado Cash was a key tool for the North Korean hacking group Lazarus, implicated in a $625 million hack of Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network and other significant crypto thefts.


This trial sets a precedent for other Tornado Cash developers facing similar charges. 


Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, also developers of the crypto mixer, face allegations of money laundering and sanctions violations in the U.S. Storm's trial is set for September, while Semenov has not yet been arrested. 


Unlike Pertsev, Storm is not accused of laundering $1.2 billion due to differences in how U.S. and Dutch laws address personal responsibility in such crimes. The trial's outcome could influence future cases involving crypto mixers. 


While mixers like Tornado Cash hide the destination of funds and are sometimes used by hackers to launder illicit money, they are not exclusively used for criminal activities. Tornado Cash remains one of the most well-known crypto mixers, but it is not the only one.


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