Ksenia Malik, the wife of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev, criticizes the Dutch authorities for treating her husband as a "dangerous criminal."
The Dutch Tax Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) arrested Pertsev on August 12 on suspicion of using Tornado Cash to launder money and conceal criminal financial flows.
In an interview Malik confirmed that Pertsev remains in the hands of the Dutch authorities, and she has not been able to contact him since he was put behind bars.
"He is being held in prison as a dangerous criminal," Malik said, expressing concern that Pertsev was arrested without warning for what she does not consider illegal activity:
"It’s very unexpected to me that a person can be arrested for writing open source code."
Malik said that she can "only guess how he is doing and how hard it is for him right now," since the Dutch authorities have completely banned her and anyone from any contact with him, even "one short call."
However, she does not remain without support. The decentralized finance aggregator (DeFi) 1inch plans to hold a rally in Amsterdam on August 20 to demonstrate support for Pertsev and defend the rights of developers to create open source software.
1inch said that Pertsev’s arrest threatens to "set a dangerous precedent" because it could "kill the entire segment of open source software" if developers are held responsible for any software they create that is abused by others.
"Is it really a crime to be an open source blockchain developer today? We must fight for the right to create open source software! Help Alexey Pertsev get out of prison!".
Responding to the efforts of 1inch and others who are not indifferent, Malik said that she is "very grateful to everyone who helps and supports her husband."
Malik also hopes that the rally will not only draw attention to the injustice against Pertsev, but also positively influence public opinion about the nature of open source:
"We want to make it public so that as many people as possible know about the arrest and the reasons for its wrongness. This is a serious problem, as it can happen to any open source developer."
However, not everyone condemns Pertsev's arrest. Venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary stated in an interview that tools like Tornado Cash are part of a "crypto cowboys" culture that "interferes with the main regulatory forces." He called Pertsev’s arrest a forced measure.
"If we have to sacrifice it, that’s okay, because we want to have some stability," the entrepreneur said.
On August 8, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control banned US residents from interacting with Tornado Cash due to the fact that the service is used for money laundering. The US Treasury has estimated that since 2019, more than $7 billion received as a result of illegal activities has been laundered through Tornado Cash.