A 29-year-old Russian man was arrested in Amsterdam in August on suspicion of running a large-scale cryptocurrency scam along with two others. Aleksej B. is behind Tornado Cash, a ‘mixer’ that could hide the origin of the cryptocurrency.
This afternoon, Ten Bosch Court, B. It ruled that he should remain in pre-trial detention because he could flee to Russia and hide evidence.
P.’s lawyer claims that he was one of the developers of the software, otherwise it ran completely autonomously on the Ethereum blockchain, called a “smart contract”. “This is about making open source software, not a criminal offense,” says attorney Keith Cheng.
Simply put, a cryptocurrency mixer ensures that money flows through a ‘big wallet’ so that it is impossible to trace who is behind the payment.
In general, you can see exactly where crypto transactions are going, which can also accurately track criminally-earned money. Mixers are therefore popular, for example, as ransomware criminals like to defraud their payments.
According to the Public Prosecution Service, P. operated such a mixing site, and at least one billion euros was laundered with it. He did it along with two co-suspects, OM says, but they are staying abroad.
After a major hack, even 600 million euros would have been laundered through the site of P. and his two co-suspects. According to the Public Prosecution Service, they refused to do anything about such practices and made a lot of money from it.
Formally, the 29-year-old, who lives in Amstelveen, was a top man in a Russian security firm, but according to the Public Prosecution Service, it was a cover for Tornado money.
The US has put the site on its sanctions list because the North Korean regime allegedly used it to launder money.
According to P.’s lawyer, he actually had no control over the platform and only contributed to the software. “Tornado Cash operates completely autonomously, it is not a company, not a financial institution.”
previous protested Already B’s supporters are against his arrest. They fear that if someone is arrested for creating software that can be used for criminal purposes, it could create a “chilling effect” for open source projects.
“Mixers can also be used for legitimate purposes, for example to hide money coming from robbers or families, or to hide payments to abortion clinics in countries where abortion is not popular,” his lawyer said.
But according to the Public Prosecution Service, B. Not just a developer, he and his co-defendants were practically in control. Tornado money theoretically has digital voting rights SocialBut in practice with them, according to the Public Prosecution Service.
B asked to suspend his pre-trial detention because his wife would not be allowed to stay in the Netherlands. He asked the court. His visa is linked to a visa for knowledge workers; As he cannot work while in custody, it will end at the end of this month. The court rejected the request because the risk of flight and loss of evidence weighed heavily. So he should be remanded till February 20 for the next hearing.
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