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Tornado-Linked Arrest in Europe Riles Crypto Mavens

Dutch Police Suspect Tornado Cash Involved in ‘Criminal Money Flows’

Tornado-Linked Arrest in Europe Riles Crypto Mavens

Dutch police have arrested an alleged developer of Tornado Cash, the cryptocurrency mixer popular with hackers and privacy-minded users, FIOD, the Netherlands’ financial crimes investigative unit, announced today.

More arrests could be forthcoming, FIOD said in a statement Friday. The 29-year-old suspect, who was arrested on Aug. 10, was not named. 

Money Laundering

The case does not appear related to U.S. sanctions against Tornado Cash announced earlier this week. Dutch officials suggested it was the culmination of an investigation begun in June.

“He is suspected of involvement in concealment of criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering through the mixing of cryptocurrencies through the decentralized Ethereum mixing service Tornado Cash,” the agency said in its statement. 

Crypto proponents were quick to condemn the news Friday.

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“It’s unclear if there are allegations of illicit conduct unrelated to writing code,” Jake Chervinsky, head of policy at the Blockchain Association, a Washington-based lobbying group, tweeted. “If not, this threatens to be the start of Crypto Wars II.”

Coin Gecko co-founder Bobby One agreed.

“The authorities should go after the parties misusing the code for nefarious purposes, not the creator of the code,” he tweeted. “More devs will choose to build anonymously.”

Money Flows

FIOD said it suspects Tornado Cash has been used to conceal “large-scale criminal money flows” from online thefts, hacks, and other exploits.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury said Tornado Cash had laundered $7B worth of cryptocurrencies since its inception in 2019, including $455M stolen by North Korea’s notorious Lazarus Group.

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