Arrested Tornado Cash developer is Alexey Pertsev, his wife confirms

Quick Take

  • The Tornado Cash developer arrested by Dutch authorities on Wednesday is Alexey Pertsev, his wife has confirmed to The Block.
  • Ksenia Malik said that she is in shock over her husband’s arrest and is currently working with lawyers.
 

The software developer arrested this week over suspected of involvement in the Tornado Cash crypto mixing service is Alexey Pertsev, his wife has told The Block today, confirming earlier speculation on Twitter. 

Ksenia Malik, who married Pertsev last September, said the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) arrested Pertsev on August 10 in Amsterdam city center. 

She went on to say that she's in shock over her husband’s arrest and is currently working with lawyers. "My husband didn't do anything illegal," she said.

The FIOD, in its announcement today, said it arrested a 29-year-old man suspected of involvement in concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering through Tornado Cash, which allows users to obscure blockchain-based transactions.

A spokesperson for FIOD declined to comment on the arrested person's identity when contacted by The Block.

The agency in its announcement said "multiple arrests are not ruled out."

It suspects that through Tornado Cash, large-scale criminal money flows have been concealed. "These included funds stolen through hacks by a group believed to be associated with North Korea," the FIOD stated. "Investigations showed that at least one billion dollars' worth of cryptocurrencies of criminal origin passed through the mixer. It is suspected that persons behind this organisation have made large-scale profits from these transactions."

FIOD's action comes two days after the US government sanctioned Tornado Cash. The US Treasury added Tornado Cash and 44 associated Ethereum and USDC wallets to its Specially Designated Nationals list on August 8. The wallets identified included the smart contract that runs Tornado Cash and the Tornado Cash donation wallet.

Pertsev's arrest has been condemned by Crypto Twitter. Several industry executives reacted with alarm at the arrest. “They put a man in jail because bad people used his open source code. This cannot stand in any free society,” said Adam Cochran, a partner at Cinneamhain Ventures.

This story has been updated with details of the FIOD's allegations and reaction from the crypto industry.

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