The developer of the crypto mixer Tornado Cash is accused of laundering $1.2 billion

According to local media, the indictment of the Dutch prosecutor's office lists 40 suspicious transactions, among which the largest is the one associated with the exploit of the blockchain game Axie Infinity sidechain * Ronin. The indictment also mentions victims of hacks of the decentralized protocols Harmony and Nomad.
*A sidechain is a parallel blockchain that operates independently of the main blockchain (main network). Typically, the connection between them is established using a two-way bridge, which allows the rapid transfer of digital assets or tokens between the main network and the sidechain.
Russian developer Alexey Pertsev is accused of laundering $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrency using the anonymization tool (“crypto mixer”) Tornado Cash, according to an indictment from Dutch prosecutors.

The indictment states that from July 9, 2019 to August 10, 2022, Pertsev allegedly “had a habit of committing money laundering” in the Netherlands, Russia, the United States and Dubai, either independently or in collaboration with one or more individuals. Pertsev is accused of laundering more than 500,000 ether (ETH) of allegedly criminal origin, but he denied these charges. In April 2023, his preventive measure was changed to house arrest.
Other Tornado Cash developers, Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, are also charged with money laundering and violating US sanctions. The charges set out in the Dutch indictment against Pertsev coincide with the charges brought against Storm and Semenov in the United States. Semenov is due to appear in court in September of this year, but at the moment he could not be arrested.

In August 2022, Pertsev was jailed in the Netherlands on unclear charges shortly after Tornado Cash was blacklisted by the US sanctions regulator due to its alleged use by the North Korean regime. His arrest sparked a public outcry, especially in the developer community, who expressed concern that the charges against Pertsev could set a dangerous precedent for indicting software developers.

A poster in front of the court building demanding the release of Pertsev.

The indictment lists approximately 40 transactions worth 535,809 ETH originating from various platforms, including KuCoin and Liquid, which FTX acquired before its collapse in 2022. The largest reported amount of 175,100 ETH (about $585 million in today's prices) came from Axie Infinity's Ronin network, which had about $625 million stolen in a 2022 exploit—one of the largest in cryptocurrency history. The exploit is blamed on the notorious hacker group Lazarus, allegedly linked to the North Korean government.
Pertsev and his associates should have at least suspected the criminal origin of these funds, Dutch prosecutors say.

Since the beginning of January 2024, Storm and Pertsev have raised $1.5 million for lawyers through the JusticeDAO fund created for this purpose. This initiative received support from former NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden, as well as from members of the crypto community.
AML Crypto opinion
We at AML Crypto do not undertake to say whether the developer is guilty of laundering such large sums of money or whether he may become a victim of a miscarriage of justice. But one thing we can say for sure is that it was necessary not only for the developers of Tornado Cash, but also for any cryptocurrency user who wants to save their funds to check the crypto wallet for cleanliness, for connections with dirty funds or money laundering.

This can be done in our solution Btrace. Free AML wallet verification for each new user.
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