On Friday, the Netherlands Crime Agency (FIOD) arrested a 29-year-old man in Amsterdam suspected to be the developer of Tornado Cash, which was recently sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury.
The suspected criminal has allegedly been sponsoring illicit financial flows, money laundering, and mixing cryptocurrencies through a decentralized Ethereum mixing service Tornado Cash
“Today the suspect is brought before the examining judge, adding that “multiple arrests are not ruled out,” FIOD said
According to FIOD, the arrest intends to cut down on crypto mixers that have swarmed the industry and ripping off people billions of dollars. It is reported that mixer companies have touted the privacy benefit of increasing the anonymity of transactions involving currencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, which list transactions on blockchain technology accessible to the public.
Cybercriminals have also used other services to launder money, Treasury officials said on Monday, accusing Tornado of failing to block more than $7 billion of digital currency from being stolen through hacks by a group believed to be associated with North Korea.
“Despite public assurances otherwise, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks,” said Brian E. Nelson, Treasury Department undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a statement on Monday.
Illicit financial flows
Among the funds allegedly laundered through Tornado was more than $104 million of cryptocurrency stolen in two separate hacks on crypto “bridge” services Harmony and Nomad this June and August, respectively, Treasury Department officials said. Crypto bridges are designed to allow users to transfer funds between different blockchains and have increasingly become a target for hacking in recent months, cybersecurity experts say.
The sanctions and now arrest has sparked outrage from the public, with enthusiasts saying the governments are going after start-ups that could actually be great for the technology industry. Governments are not focused on the broader digital currency ecosystem that criminals have used in bids to hide their tracks.