Tornado Cash founder Alexey Pertsev charged with massive money laundering in the Netherlands

The developer of popular crypto mixer Tornado Cash, Alexey Pertsev is facing serious charges from Dutch authorities who accuse him of laundering $1.2 billion in crypto.

Alexey Pertsev’s alleged role in illicit transactions via Tornado cash

Alexey Pertsevfounder of the crypto mixer Tornado Cashis at the heart of a high-profile court case. Dutch prosecutors accuse him of having facilitated money-laundering of $1.2 billion via its platform.

According to the indictment, Pertsev was involved in 36 illicit transactions, including one involving the transfer of 172,000 ETH from the Ronin Bridge, a protocol linked to Axie Infinity which was the victim of a $625 million hack in 2022, attributed to the group Lazarus.

However, Alexey‘s lawyer Keith Cheng challenges the accuracy of the charges, pointing to their lack of detail regarding his client’s alleged criminal acts.

The prosecutors suspect Pertsev of money laundering and have described him in general terms, but they do not specify what specific acts he committed to participate in the criminal offense.

Statement by Keith Cheng, Alexey Pertsev’s lawyer

The legal saga of decentralized mixers takes many twists and turns!

The legal saga surrounding Alexey Pertsev began in August 2022 when the Tax Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) apprehended him. Prior to this arrest, Tornado Cash had already been sanctioned by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) U.S. Treasury Department for his alleged involvement in the laundering of illicit funds including those linked to North Korean hackers.

In August 2023, as suspicions intensified and investigations progressed, Pertsev was once again arrested, this time by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). His trial is scheduled for March 26 in Bois-le-Duc, Netherlands, where he will face the charges brought against him.

From many key industry players including CoinbaseEthereum developers and the Blockchain Association, consider the accusations against Pertsev as an attack on coding itself and so they expressed their support for the innocent developer.

The Pertsev case echoes a series of convictions targeting the heads of crypto mixers, such as Roman Sterlingov of Bitcoin Fog and Roman Storm, also co-founder of Tornado Cash.
Finally, regulators still do not know how to find someone to blame in the case of an illegal operation involving a decentralized smart-contract. The latter is not essentially controlled by anyone. When they can’t find the culprits, the legal system attacks by default the creators of the independent tool, which doesn’t seem fair…