Suspected money laundering billion euros free for the time being

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Aleksy P., the Russian programmer suspected by the FIOD of having laundered a billion euros, is almost free again after more than eight months in custody.

The court in Den Bosch decided today that P. may await his trial in freedom.

P.’s provisional release starts Wednesday and is subject to strict conditions. For example, he must report weekly to the Probation Service, he is not allowed to leave the country and he must provide officials with access to digital equipment that he uses on request.

(Shutterstock/La Nacion via ZUMA Press)

Court changed its mind

According to Ps lawyer, WK Cheung, his client is ‘extremely happy’ with his release. “This really gives him the opportunity to work even harder and better on his defense.”

The public prosecutor argued for an extension of the detention. Justice sees P. as a flight risk, partly because he bought a plane ticket to Moscow shortly before his arrest. P. himself said today at a hearing in Russia that he had to fear for his life. The court nevertheless said it saw a flight risk, but decided today that the ‘social interest’ to detain P. had become too small. For example, the court no longer sees the risk that he would frustrate the investigation upon release. At an earlier hearing, the Public Prosecution Service did not have access to his laptop. It has now been read out.

P. was arrested in Amstelveen last August. He is one of the driving forces behind Tornado Cash, a software that can disguise the origin of Ethereum, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. US law enforcement believes that North Korean hackers laundered hundreds of millions in stolen crypto via Tornado Cash, including for the development of nuclear weapons. The blockchain addresses are therefore on American sanctions lists

‘he is a builder’

Tornado Cash runs on autonomous software, so-called smart contracts. These can be used without P.’s consent or knowledge. He therefore says that he is in no way complicit in money laundering. P. has many supporters who see the case against him as a threat to fundamental civil rights. Earlier, a small demonstration was even organized on Dam Square for his release. A number of supporters were also present in the courtroom today, including Eléonore Blanc from CryptoCanal. She sees herself connected with P. ‘In a community of values.’

“He’s a builder,” said Leblanc. “Someone to be celebrated, not someone who belongs in prison. I’m very glad he’s back home.’ P. himself also sees his case as ‘significant to the community’, according to his lawyer Cheng.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 24. The court will then rule again on the provisional release of P.

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