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

Alexey Pertsev, a developer of the crypto-mixing platform Tornado Cash, was found guilty of money laundering by a Dutch court and sentenced to five years and four months in jail.

On Tuesday, a Dutch judge at s-Hertogenbosch court stated that Tornado Cash is “intended for criminals” and that “the criminal user is fully facilitated.” As such, the Russian national has been convicted of laundering $1.2 billion in illicit assets.

An indictment shared before the trial said that between July 9, 2019, and August 10, 2022, Pertsev made “a habit of committing money laundering” with Tornado Cash and that he should have created sufficient guardrails to prevent criminals from using the Ethereum mixer platform. The sentencing comes despite Tornado Cash being a noncustodial protocol, indicating that the funds that flow through the platform are not held or controlled by it.

Pertsev was first arrested in the Netherlands in August 2022 after the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Tornado Cash. At the time, the U.S. Treasury had asserted that Tornado Cash was heavily used by the infamous North Korean cybercrime organization Lazarus. The Lazarus Group has been linked to the record $625 million hack on Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network in March 2022 and other major cryptocurrency thefts.

The developer will remain in the cells under court until the public prosecutor finds an appropriate prison in the Netherlands for his crimes. Nevertheless, his legal team has 14 days to appeal the court’s decision.

Fellow Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm is facing similar charges of money laundering and sanctions violations in the United States. His trial is scheduled to begin in a New York federal court on September 23.

Pundits speculate that the pending imprisonment of Pertsev and Storm will undoubtedly have severe implications on the future of privacy in decentralized finance, as it will discourage developers from creating open-source software that gives users financial privacy tools.

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