According to a report from intelligence firm Kharon, Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev formerly worked for a corporation linked to the Russian security agency FSB. The Tornado Cash programme was created by PepperSec, a Delaware-registered corporation. Pertsev is mentioned as the company’s founder and CEO in the Kharon report.
On August 8, the Treasury Department placed sanctions on Tornado Cash, stating that the company had been used to launder billions of dollars by hacker groups like the Lazarus Group from North Korea.
The Dutch government detained Pertsev, a citizen of the Netherlands, two days later on suspicion of “involvement in hiding unlawful financial flows and facilitating money laundering.” The targeting of an open-source software project by the US government sparked concern from the crypto community worldwide.
However, Pertsev was backed by the global crypto community, which argued that the American government had unfairly singled out an open-source software developer. National security experts claim that the public is not completely aware of the measures, nevertheless.
According to a Kharon investigation, Pertsev worked in 2017 for the Russian organisation Digital Security OOO. He worked as an information security specialist and developer of smart contracts. Digital Security OOO was chosen by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2018 to assist the FSB practically and technologically.