US Treasury hits Tornado Cash with significant sanctions over money laundering 

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, which has been used to launder more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019.

The sanctions are related to more than $455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group, a North Korean state-sponsored hacking group that was sanctioned by the US in 2019. 

Furthermore, it marks the largest known virtual currency heist to date, with Tornado Cash being utilised to launder more than $96 million of malicious cyber actors’ funds derived from the June 24, 2022 Harmony Bridge Heist, and at least $7.8 million from the August 2, 2022 Nomad Heist. 

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, said: “Today, Treasury is sanctioning Tornado Cash, a virtual currency mixer that launders the proceeds of cybercrimes, including those committed against victims in the US. 

“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. 

“Treasury will continue to aggressively pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for criminals and those who assist them.”