The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) arrested Pertsev on August 12 for allegedly using an Ethereum-based privacy tool to launder money and conceal criminal financial flows. Malik confirmed that Pertsev is still in the hands of Dutch authorities and she has not had a chance to contact him since he was put behind bars.
"They kept him in prison as if he were a dangerous criminal"
"They kept him in prison as if he were a dangerous criminal," Malik said, as she expressed her concern that Pertsev was arrested without warning for what she believed to be a harmless activity: "It's very unexpected to me that a person can be arrested for writing open source."
Malik said that she can "only guess how he is doing and how hard it is at the moment", since the Dutch authorities have completely forbidden her (or anyone) from having any contact with him, not even "one short call"
Despite Malik feeling helpless in this regard, she is not without support. DeFi project 1inch organized a rally in Amsterdam on August 20 to show support for Pertsev and stand up for developers' rights to create open-source software.
1inch has been particularly vocal on the issue, saying Pertsev's arrest threatens to "set a dangerous precedent" because it could "kill the entire open-source software segment" if developers are held responsible for any software they create that is misused by others.
In light of the efforts of 1inch and the wider crypto community, Malik said that she is very grateful to everyone who helps and supports her husband, because it proves that "people really care" Malik also hopes that the gathering not only draws attention to Pertsev's injustice, but also positively influences public opinion about the nature of open-source code.
However, the arrest of Pertsev was also approved by the world. Noted Shark Tank investor Kevin O'Leary said in a recent interview that crypto privacy tools like Tornado Cash are part of a "crypto cowboy" culture that is "messing with the primary forces of regulation."
While he described Pertsev's arrest as necessary. Before the arrest, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control banned US residents from interacting with Tornado Cash on August 8 due to growing concerns that it was being used for money laundering.
The U.S. Treasury Department believes Tornado Cash has facilitated more than $7 billion in money laundering activities since Pertsev created Tornado Cash in 2019.