Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev appeals Dutch court’s conviction

abdelaziz Fathi

Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev, who was sentenced to 64 months in jail for money laundering, has filed an appeal against his conviction on charges in the Netherlands.

Pertsev was sentenced on Tuesday by a Dutch court for facilitating $1.2 billion in money laundering through the crypto mixer between July 2019 and August 2022. However, it remains unclear whether the appeal has been approved and a hearing could take several months to be scheduled.

Following the verdict, Pertsev was immediately taken into custody. However, he may request to await his appeal trial from home.

Tornado Cash is a decentralized protocol that provides privacy for transactions on the Ethereum blockchain, allowing users to make anonymous transfers. While private financial transactions are legal, Tornado Cash has been exploited by some users for money laundering.

One of the judges characterized Tornado Cash as primarily a tool for criminal activity, which played a key role in Pertsev’s conviction.

Pertsev was initially jailed in the Netherlands in August 2022 after Tornado Cash was blacklisted by the U.S. government. The U.S. Treasury alleged that Tornado Cash was a key tool for the North Korean hacking group Lazarus, which has been linked to a $625 million hack of Axie Infinity’s Ronin Network and other major crypto thefts.

Pertsev’s time in custody since his arrest in August 2022 does not appear to count towards his current prison sentence. His legal team is seeking leniency by appealing the conviction.

The trial outcome for Pertsev could have implications for other Tornado Cash developers facing similar charges. Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, co-founders of Tornado Cash, also face allegations of money laundering and sanctions violations in the U.S. Storm’s trial is set for September, while Semenov has not yet been arrested.

In the U.S., Storm is not accused of laundering $1.2 billion due to differences in legal approaches between U.S. and Dutch laws regarding personal responsibility in such crimes.

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