Dutch police arrested alleged Tornado Cash developer

A 29-year-old man suspected of involvement in Tornado Cash was detained by authorities in Amsterdam just two days after the crypto mixer was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury.

A stock photo of handcuffs behind the bars.

The Dutch public prosecutor’s office for serious fraud, environmental crime and asset confiscation (FIOD) announced that the man, whose identity wasn’t publicly revealed, was arrested on Wednesday. He is suspected of facilitating criminal transactions, including “funds stolen through hacks by a group believed to be associated with North Korea.” The developer faces money laundering charges for benefitting from illicit transactions.

FIOD claimed Tornado Cash has supposedly laundered over $7 billion worth of cryptocurrency since its creation in 2019, citing the same figures from the letter by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). However, the blockchain analytics firm Elliptic believes the numbers may be inflated and estimates that the mixing service had so far laundered just $1.54 billion in ether (ETH) and USD Coin (USDC).

“Money laundering via decentralised autonomous organisations is a new phenomenon that is receiving explicit attention from the FIOD,” the announcement stated, adding that “multiple arrests are not ruled out.”

Later this day, Tornado’s Discord server was deleted, as several users noticed that the invite link wasn’t working anymore. The crypto mixer’s website also went offline. However, Tornado Cash’s team still maintains its presence on Telegram.

“Due to the recent blacklisting of our website by the Treasury Department of the United States. Most people will experience difficulties in accessing our website because it has been taken down and all access has been shut,” the service said.