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Tornado Cash Developer Alexey Pertsev Found Guilty of Laundering $1.2 Billion in Illicit Funds


Alexey Pertsev, the 31-year-old Russian developer of the crypto mixer Tornado Cash, has been found guilty of laundering $1.2 billion in illicit funds by a Dutch court. Pertsev was sentenced to 64 months in prison, and his lawyers can appeal the decision within 14 days.

Pertsev was initially imprisoned in the Netherlands in August 2022 after Tornado Cash was banned by the US government. The US Treasury claimed Tornado Cash was a critical tool for the notorious North Korean hacking group Lazarus. During his trial in March, prosecutors argued that Pertsev didn’t do enough to stop criminals from using Tornado Cash.

However, Pertsev’s defense argued that the prosecutors didn’t consider that Tornado Cash operates on open-source and automated smart contracts. Pertsev stated that it’s unfair to blame him for the actions of Tornado Cash users, who are intentionally anonymous and independent.

Industry commentators have expressed concerns about the decision, with Raphaël Bloch, co-founder of ‘The Big Whale,’ stating that condemning Pertsev is like condemning a knife or car manufacturer whose users would have behaved in a wrong way. Bloch emphasized that Pertsev only developed an open-source tool.

Tornado Cash is a non-custodial crypto mixing protocol, meaning that it never holds or controls the funds that are transferred via the protocol. The outcome of this trial could set a precedent for future trials involving other Tornado Cash developers, including Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, who are also accused of money laundering and violating sanctions in the US.

Blockfence’s Head of Security Research, Pablo Sabbatella, called the decision a “sad day for privacy, crypto, and open-source.” The outcome of Pertsev’s trial has sparked concerns about the implications for the crypto and open-source communities.

Source: CryptoPotato


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