Security Report says Alexey Pertsev had FSB ties?
According to an article, the arrested Tornado Cash developer has a history of ties to the Russian spy organization FSB. An study conducted by the intelligence firm Kharon uncovered that the creator of Tornado Cash, Alexey Pertsev, formerly worked for a company that the United States government blacklisted for its collaboration with the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).
According to the information provided in the study, Pertsev worked for Digital Security OOO as a smart contracts developer. In 2018, the United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Russian business suspected of launching a project in 2015 that contributed to Russia’s increased offensive cyber capabilities.
Nick Grothaus, vice president of research at Kharon, made the following statement:
“You had this man working for [Digital Security OOO] and performing pen testing himself, and then the Treasury designated the company for supporting the FSB’s hacking capabilities. You had this guy working for [Digital Security OOO] and doing pen testing himself,”
Move from Digital Security to PepperSec
After being designated by the United States, Pertsev went on to co-found PepperSec in 2020, a security company that caters to hackers who wear white hats. PepperSec was a contributor to the development of Tornado Cash and released an app called MutliSender, which allows users to send cryptocurrency tokens to “thousands of addresses” in a single transaction.
On August 8, the Treasury sanctioned the protocol due to allegations that more than $7 billion was laundered through Tornado Cash. In a subsequent occurrence, the Dutch authorities made an arrest of Pertserv on suspicion that he had facilitated and concealed acts related to money laundering.
Alex Zerden, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, stated in response to the report that Kharon published that the investigation calls into doubt the legitimacy of the individuals responsible for developing Tornado Cash. Zerden also added:
“This is really significant information that sheds light on why the government of the United States and the authorities in the Netherlands have taken certain actions.”
Gov Still Has Access to Sensitive Info
The crypto community has harshly criticized the authorities for violating individuals’ right to personal privacy and for authorizing the use of open-source software. On the other hand, some people who favor the government argue that the acts are in everyone’s best interest.
According to Zerden, if members of the crypto community were aware of what was going on behind the scenes, they would appreciate the effort that the government was making. Zerden explained that the information imbalance could be traced back to the need to maintain the confidentiality of such matters.
“Because of the need to maintain the confidentiality of certain information, public officials are frequently unable to share it with the general public.”
In the meantime, a member of the United States House of Representatives by the name of Tom Emmer has asked the Treasury Department to clarify several matters concerning the Tornado Cash punishment. He contends that the penalties have an effect not just on the nation’s safety but also on the right to privacy of every individual in the United States.