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Tornado Cash Developer Alexey Pertsev Accused of Laundering $1.2B

Dutch prosecutors have highlighted 36 alleged illicit transactions through Tornado Cash of which Alexey Pertsev was supposedly a co-perpetrator

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Alexey Pertsev is being accused of laundering more than $1.2 billion through Tornado Cash.

An indictment by Dutch prosecutors shows that Pertsev is due to stand trial in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on 27 March. Pertsev, who was a developer at Tornado Cash, “made a habit of committing money laundering,” according to the document.

Pertsev was arrested in August 2022 when US officials sanctioned Tornado Cash, alleging that the crypto mixer was used to launder millions of dollars. He was detained for almost nine months and continues to be monitored with a GPS but has denied the allegations ever since.

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Tornado Cash co-developers Roman Storm and Roman Semonov were also charged in August 2023. Storm will be trialled in the US in September.

“Prosecutors are suspecting Pertsev of money laundering and they have described it in a general way, but they don’t specify which exact acts he has committed to take part in the criminal offence,” Keith Cheng, Pertsev’s lawyer, said.

Dutch prosecutor listed 36 allegedly illicit transactions from decentralised protocols to Tornado Cash. They claim Pertsev was a co-perpetrator in laundering money through Tornado Cash.

More than 175 ETH came from the crypto protocol Ronin Bridge, which suffered a $625 million hack in 2022 linked to the North Korean cyber group Lazarus. Harmony and Nomad Bridge are also listed by the prosecutors.

Prosecution against Pertsev has been regarded as prosecution against developers by the open-source community. A guilty verdict would threaten developers working on projects that could later be deemed unlawful.

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Pertsev has received support from the wider cyrpto community including Coinbase. “If these sanctions stand, the damage will extend beyond these six individuals, and even beyond Tornado Cash,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said on X . “Even though we’re not the ones facing the brunt of these damages, we couldn’t stand by.”

The Blockchain Association and DeFi Education Fund also showed their support, stating that Torando Cash was a tool.

“This software has no owner or operator, and it functions automatically without any human intervention or assistance,” the groups said in court papers.

“Like any tool — indeed, like the internet itself — software like Tornado Cash can be misused for illicit purposes. But it is used primarily for legitimate and socially valuable reasons.”

Dutch prosecutors have taken the push back into consideration, stating, “A cryptocurrency mixing service is not inherently illegal.”

“Simply writing code is not punishable. Mixing criminal assets and concealing the origin of criminal funds is punishable.”