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Guilty Verdict: Tornado Cash Developer Alexey Pertsev Found Guilty in Money Laundering Case

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Tornado Cash Developer Alexey Pertsev Found Guilty

Alexey Pertsev, the developer behind Tornado Cash, has been convicted of money laundering by a Dutch judge at the s-Hertogenbosch court.

The trial followed an indictment that stated Pertsev had engaged in a pattern of money laundering between July 9, 2019, and August 10, 2022.

The prosecution argued that Pertsev should have had suspicions about the illicit origins of transactions on the Tornado Cash platform.

Pertsev Was Arrested in 2022

Pertsev was detained in the Netherlands in August 2022 when Tornado Cash was blacklisted by the U.S. government.

At the time, the U.S. Treasury accused Tornado Cash of being a crucial tool for the North Korean hacking group Lazarus.

This group has been linked to major crypto thefts, including the $625 million hack of Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network.

The outcome of Pertsev’s trial could have implications for the pending trials of other Tornado Cash developers.

Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, who also played a role in the development of the crypto mixer, are facing allegations of money laundering and sanctions violations in the United States.

Storm is scheduled to stand trial in September, while Semenov has not yet been apprehended.

Storm was arrested last year after Tornado Cash was once again added to the U.S. sanctions watchlist.

It is worth noting that, in the United States, Storm is not accused of being directly responsible for the laundering of $1.2 billion.

Storm Challenges DOJ Charges

In late March, Storm submitted a motion to dismiss all three charges against him, claiming that he did not operate a money laundering business and did not violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

His attorneys argued that Tornado Cash is not a custodial mixing service and does not meet the definition of a “financial institution.”

They also contended that Storm had no control over the service and could not prevent entities like Lazarus Group from using it.

The defense’s position was that merely developing the code for the project does not equate to operating a money laundering entity.

However, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) rejected Storm’s motion, saying that the service was announced in 2019 as a mixer and comprised a website, user interface, a combination of smart contracts, and a network of “relayers.”

The DOJ asserted that Storm cannot dismiss the indictment based on his own contested view of how the Tornado Cash service operated or his self-serving version of his intent.

As reported, the US Treasury has added Tornado Cash to its Specially Designated Nationals list, effectively banning Americans from using this mixer.