Dutch police arrested a suspected developer of the US-sanctioned Tornado Cash crypto mixer and are looking into potentially more arrests

·2 min read
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Dado Ruvic/Reuters
  • A developer of the sanctioned Tornado Cash platform has been arrested by Dutch Police.

  • The platform was sanctioned by the US Treasury this week over connections to North Korean money laundering.

  • Dutch police say that more arrests are possible as they look into decentralized fintech firms.

The Netherlands Crime Agency (FIOD) said it arrested a 29-year-old who is a suspected developer of Tornado Cash, the crypto mixer that was slapped with US sanctions earlier this week.

The platform, which mixes cryptocurrencies into the decentralized ethereum network and hides the origin of users' tokens, was prohibited from operating in the United States earlier this week after the US Treasury said North Korean hackers had been using the service for money laundering.

US Treasury officials say the platform has laundered around $7 billion in crypto, and an analysis by TRM Labs shows North Korean hackers are responsible for $1 billion of the laundered funds.

Regulators did not name the suspect, but said he was detained on Wednesday and will be presented to a judge today in the Netherlands for helping money laundering and concealing other criminal financial activity on Tornado Cash's platform.

"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," regulators said in a statement.

The sanctions on Tornado Cash are the latest development as regulators crack down on the crypto industry and turn the screws on decentralized finance firms. 2022 has seen a wave of high profile crypto hacks and cyberthefts.

Earlier this year, North Korean hackers stole $625 million in cryptocurrency from Axie's Infinity Ronin Network, one of the largest thefts in history of the blockchain. Another $100 million was stolen from Harmony Bridge – with evidence that 98% of those funds were later laundered through Tornado Cash, according to an analysis from Elliptic.

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