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US Treasury penalises Tornado Cash for laundering stolen crypto

The US Department of the Treasury has imposed a sanction on Crypto Tornado, a decentralised crypto mixing service used by cybercriminals to siphon stolen funds anonymously.

Crypto Tornado breaks the on-chain link between source and destination addresses on the blockchain, improving the transaction privacy by obfuscating them.

According to the US Treasury, Tornado Cash has been used to launcher more than $7 billion since it was created in 2019.

As a result of the sanction, all the property and assets of Tornado Cash in the USA or the possession of a US citizen will be blocked and reported to the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), which enforces sanctions violations.

“Today, Treasury is sanctioning Tornado Cash, a virtual currency mixer that launders the proceeds of cybercrimes, including those committed against victims in the United States,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Treasury will continue to aggressively pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for criminals and those who assist them.”

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The Lazarus group has used the crypto mixer in the past to move $445 million and in the Crypto.com breach in January, where the cybercriminals allegedly got away with over 4800 Ethereum. It was also used to launder $96 million in the Harmony Bridge heist in June and $7.8 million from the Nomad Token bridge security breach.

“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.”

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