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Dutch investigators say developer of Tornado Cash arrested

August 12, 2022

Authorities in the Netherlands said they had arrested a developer of the crypto mixing service Tornado Cash. The move comes just days after the US put Tornado Cash on its sanctions list.

A man in silhouette looks at a computer with binary code
The Dutch authorities said more arrests could be comingImage: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/picture alliance

On Friday the investigative service of the Dutch tax authorities announced the arrest in Amsterdam of a 29-year-old man who they believe is a developer for Tornado Cash, a crypto mixing service that the US sanctioned earlier in the week.

The US Treasury Department announced sanctions against the service on Monday. Tornado Cash was reportedly utilized by North Korean state hackers to conceal billions of dollars.

The crypto mixing service helps crypto currency users evade detection by concealing the origins and destinations of transactions. The result makes transactions more anonymous.

What have the Dutch authorities said?

The public prosecutor's office for serious fraud, environmental crime and asset confiscation in the Netherlands did not identify the person they arrested by name. In a statement, they said that Tornado Cash had been involved in the laundering of some $7 billion (€6.8 billion) worth of cryptocurrency since 2019, when the service emerged.

Dutch officials also said the service helped conceal "funds stolen through hacks by a group believed to be associated with North Korea," and other criminal activities.

The statement said in part, "Investigations showed that at least one billion dollars' worth of cryptocurrencies of criminal origin passed through the mixer."

"It is suspected that persons behind this organization have made large-scale profits from these transactions."

The suspect will face money laundering charges.

What else is known about the investigation?

The Dutch Financial Advanced Cyber Team division began investigating Tornado Cash in June for concealing large criminal transactions, including from cryptocurrency heists.

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Prosecutors said more arrests are possible.

The US Treasury sanctions means Americans are barred from legally using Tornado Cash and US firms prohibited from interacting with its services.

ar/dj (Reuters)