Dutch Authorities Arrest Tornado Cash Developer Following US Sanctions on Crypto Mixer Firm

  • The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) said it arrested a 29-year-old man in Amsterdam on August 10 in connection with the recent U.S. Treasury sanctions on decentralized Ethereum mixing service Tornado Cash.

    The unnamed individual is suspected of “involvement in concealing criminal financial flows” and “facilitating money laundering through the mixing of cryptocurrencies” using Tornado Cash.

    “Multiple arrests are not ruled out,” FIOD wrote on its website. “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.”

    According to the press release, the Financial Advanced Cyber Team (FACT) of the FIOD started a criminal investigation against Tornado Cash last June.

    “FACT suspects that through Tornado Cash has been used to conceal large-scale criminal money flows, including from (online) thefts of cryptocurrencies (so-called crypto hacks and scams),” read the online document. “These included funds stolen through hacks by a group believed to be associated with North Korea.”

    Further, FACT suggested that since its inception in 2019, Tornado Cash achieved a turnover of at least $7bn dollars, which aligns with the figures unveiled by the U.S. Treasury earlier this month.

    “Investigations showed that at least $1bn worth of cryptocurrencies of criminal origin passed through the mixer,” FACT wrote. “It is suspected that persons behind this organization have made large-scale profits from these transactions.”

    In the Netherlands, the Tornado Cash investigation is led by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for serious fraud, environmental crime, and asset confiscation.

    The probe comes months after the security agencies of five countries, including the Netherlands, outlined 10 of the most common ways threat actors compromise their victims.

    More recently, a joint investigation between Belgian and Dutch police collaborated on dismantling an organized crime group responsible for stealing millions of euros from phishing victims.