Tornado Cash Co-founder Given Five-year Prison Sentence

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  • The Dutch court has sentenced Alexey Pertsev to 64 months in prison for his involvement with Tornado Cash
  • The court found Pertsev guilty of aiding criminal activities through his software
  • The US government has sanctioned Tornado Cash, alleging it laundered funds for illicit activities

Alexey Pertsev was yesterday sentenced to over five years in prison for his role in launching and maintaining the mixing service Tornado Cash. The Russian national and co-developer of the cryptocurrency mixer was handed the sentence by the Oost-Brabant district court in the Netherlands, which found that Pertsev aided criminal activities through his software, which it said facilitated money laundering and even terrorism by obscuring the origins of digital currencies.

Tornado Cash Aided Illicit Activity

During the proceedings, the court emphasized the full accountability of Pertsev and his colleagues, criticizing their failure to implement measures that could prevent the abuse of the Tornado Cash platform. The court stated that “Tornado Cash does not pose any barrier for people with criminal assets who want to launder them,” pointing to a deliberate lack of safeguards against misuse as a key reason for the conviction.

The judicial panel highlighted that, despite being aware of its potential for illicit use, Pertsev chose to ignore the dangers. They ruled that the Russian focused solely on the tool’s development without regard to the consequences, saying, “The criminal user is fully being taken care of,” indicating that the software was specifically designed to conceal transactions.

Criticism Spreads Across the Atlantic

Pertsev’s co-founder, Roman Storm, is fighting his own battle on similar charges in the US, with his lawyer claiming recently that the case against him is “fatally flawed.” A third developer, Roman Semenov, has also been charged, although he remains at large.

The debate over the legality of privacy tools in cryptocurrency transactions remains heated. Advocates like Edward Snowden argue that such tools are essential for protecting user privacy on platforms where transactions are publicly visible and traceable. Detractors, including the US government, insist that these tools facilitate criminal activities by making transactions anonymous, complicating efforts to track illegal operations such as ransomware attacks and tax evasion.