Tornado Cash dev Alexey Pertsev appeals guilty verdict in $2.2bn money laundering case

Tornado Cash dev Alexey Pertsev appeals guilty verdict in $2.2bn money laundering case
Alexey Pertsev, 31, faces almost five years in jail. He has filed an appeal with a Court of Appeals in the Netherlands. Credit: Darren Joseph/DL News.
  • Pertsev's case has rocked DeFi with its implications for privacy.
  • Crypto mixer has become a flashpoint in battle between crypto and law enforcement authorities.

Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev has filed an appeal following his guilty verdict in a Dutch court on Tuesday.

The s-Hertogenbosch Court of Appeal received a notification of the filing, a spokesperson told DL News.

The appeal will need to be approved, and the court where Pertsev was tried will need to prepare the file for the Court of Appeal. It may take months to prepare the first hearing, the spokesperson said.

New judges

The appeal will be reviewed by a new set of three judges. If approved, Pertsev’s defence will be able to present additional arguments and request further investigations.

Pertsev’s defence lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Legal experts told DL News that the court’s verdict has points of weakness, creating solid grounds for appeal.

A panel of three judges found Pertsev guilty of money laundering charges and was sentenced to 64 months of prison time.

The court ruled that Tornado Cash is an illicit platform with no blocks against criminal users.

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“If the defendant had wanted to have the possibility to take action against abuse, then he should have built it in. But he did not,” Pertsev’s verdict said.

Tornado Cash is a decentralised programme which enables users to anonymise crypto transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. Advocates argue this is a privacy solution for the otherwise public records of users’ transaction histories.

The crypto mixer was abused by criminal organisations to launder $2.2 billion from hacks of DeFi platforms and exchanges.

It was santioned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in August 2022. Pertsev, residing in the Netherlands, was arrested by Dutch authorities days later.

Fellow Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm will sit trial in the US in September.

Inbar Preiss is a DL News’ regulation correspondent. Contact the author at inbar@dlnews.com.