Creator of Tornado Cash mixer sentenced to jail

Dutch authorities have condemned a 31-year-old Russian to years behind bars over developing Tornado Cash, a crypto mixer heavily employed by North Korea.

Dutch authorities announced that the suspect, who developed and maintained Tornado Cash, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

The unnamed Russian individual, who was residing in the Netherlands at the time of his arrest, was involved with the crypto mixer from July 2019 until his arrest in August 2022.

It’s believed that Tornado Cash software helped various cyber vagrants to launder over two billion dollars. In essence, the tool allowed users to hide the origin of cryptocurrency, enabling them to launder ransom payments or stolen funds.

Meanwhile, the suspect supposedly said that it was never his intention to break the law or facilitate criminal activities. Tornado Cash creators left it up to the user not to abuse the software, at the same time making actions against the abuse highly improbable.

“Tornado Cash functions as designed by the suspect and his co-founders and its operation is entirely under their responsibility. If the suspect had wanted options to take action against possible abuse, he should have built them in,” Dutch authorities said in a statement.

It didn’t help the suspect that Dutch courts had access to various chat messages where he discussed various hacks where cryptocurrency was stolen and deposited in Tornado Cash.

“This did not stop the suspect from developing Tornado Cash and offering it to the public without limits. On the contrary, he continued to develop and roll out Tornado Cash until his arrest, with almost every subsequent step strengthening the cloaking effect and the anonymity of the users,” reads the statement.

In addition to the prison term, the suspect had his Porsche and €1.9 million ($2 million) worth of cryptocurrency seized.

Earlier this week, the United Nations reported that North Korea laundered $147.5 million of crypto through Tornado Cash just this March alone.

Tornado Cash also played a key role in the laundering of $625 million worth of crypto that North Korean hacker collective Lazarus Group stole from Axie Infinity in the Ronin exchange hack.

Dutch authorities claim that nearly $450 million of the stolen funds were deposited into Tornado Cash and laundered. The US Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash back in 2022.

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