In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Minnesota’s Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer demands an explanation for what he believes is an unprecedented sanctioning of Tornado Cash.
On August 8, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department sanctioned the mixing service Tornado Cash. He allegedly supported money laundering in the amount of 7 billion US dollars. The notorious North Korean hacker group Lazerus also used this platform to launder stolen funds in the amount of $ 455 million.
“The tornado sanctions are unique”
In a letter, Emmer explains that the sanctions are unique because they are directed against a software and not against an individual. This completely disregards previous precedents.
“For the first time, the OFAC sanctions are not directed against a person or organization. Instead, the sanctions against virtual currency anonymization software, Tornado Cash, were imposed in accordance with Executive Order 13694. According to the regulation, the software is responsible for or involved in malicious activities in cyberspace. In addition, it poses a threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health and financial stability of the United States,” Emmer said in his letter to the Treasury Department.
Congressman Asks Treasury to Explain Sanctionable Technology
Congressman Emmer asked the Ministry of Finance to explain in more detail to what extent technology is sanctionable and what criteria play a role in this. This is especially important for blockchain developers. He also called for an explanation of what measures should be taken to enforce the financial laws in the foreseeable future.
“It would be helpful for Congress and blockchain developers to understand what factors were significant in OFAC’s inclusion of this technology in the SDN list,” the letter says.
Tornado Cash developers shipped to the US
Since the imposition of the sanctions and the initiation of the investigation, the Dutch authorities have arrested a 29-year-old man. He is said to be the mastermind behind the development of Tornado Cash and was therefore extradited to the United States. He is accused of promoting illegal financial flows, money laundering, and mixing cryptocurrencies via the decentralized mixing service.
According to Emmer, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance for Terrorism and Financial News failed to refute the argument of Tornado Cash. As a result, the platform has made several attempts to introduce effective controls to prevent money laundering, but has failed several times.