Dutch authorities announced on Friday they had arrested a 29-year-old man believed to be a developer for the cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash. The announcement comes just a few days after the US Treasury put the notorious crypto startup on its sanctions list.
In a press release by the Netherlands Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), the FIOD arrested a 29-year-old man in Amsterdam on Wednesday 10 August. He is suspected of involvement in concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering through the mixing of cryptocurrencies through the decentralized Ethereum mixing service Tornado Cash.
“Multiple arrests are not ruled out. These advanced technologies, such as decentralised organisations that may facilitate money laundering are receiving extra attention from the FIOD. Also in the cryptocurrency domain, the FIOD stands for a safe financial Netherlands and investigates with effect and impact. Today the suspect is brought before the examining judge,” FIOD said.
A crypto mixer, also known as a tumbler or blender, is a service that mixes different streams of potentially identifiable cryptocurrency to improve the anonymity of transactions and harder to trace. Tornado Cash is one of the largest crypto tumblers identified as “notorious” by the U.S. Treasury.
In a statement, the US Treasury said:
“Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, which has been used to launder more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019. This includes over $455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group, a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) state-sponsored hacking group that was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2019, in the largest known virtual currency heist to date. Tornado Cash was subsequently used to launder more than $96 million of malicious cyber actors’ funds derived from the June 24, 2022 Harmony Bridge Heist, and at least $7.8 million from the August 2, 2022 Nomad Heist. Today’s action is being taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, as amended, and follows OFAC’s May 6, 2022 designation of virtual currency mixer Blender.io (Blender).”
Tornado Cash is an Ethereum blockchain-based crypto mixing service that allows users to gain a cloak of anonymity when transferring crypto assets. The U.S. sanctions announced on Monday by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) followed allegations that Tornado Cash was helping conceal billions in capital flows, including for North Korean hackers.
In a statement on Friday, The Dutch public prosecutor’s office for serious fraud, environmental crime, and asset confiscation (FIOD) said Tornado was suspected of having laundered more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its inception three years ago.