Arrested Tornado Cash developer to stay in jail after appeal rejected: Exclusive

Quick Take

  • Arrested Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev’s appeal has been dismissed and he will stay in jail until at least late November, his wife tells The Block.
  • The wife, Ksenia Malik, also fears all of Pertsev’s property will be seized and auctioned. 

Alexey Pertsev, a Tornado Cash developer arrested in August by Dutch authorities over allegations of facilitating money laundering, is to stay in jail for at least another two months after his appeal was rejected.

A judge in the Netherlands dismissed the appeal on Thursday, Pertsev's wife, Ksenia Malik, told The Block. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Pertsev, who was born in Russia, has already been in custody for more than seven weeks, after being arrested in Amsterdam on Aug. 10. His arrest came two days after the U.S. government added Tornado Cash and 44 associated Ethereum and USDC wallets to its Specially Designated Nationals list. The U.S. Treasury said the crypto mixing service, which allows users to obscure transactions, had "repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors."

Thursday's ruling means Pertsev, 29, will remain in custody until at least Nov. 22.

Malik said the rejection is "absolutely not fair" and that no argument from Pertsev's side was taken into consideration. "There is absolute lawlessness going on here," she said.

She went on to say that Dutch authorities are "afraid that Alex will return to Russia, although if he returns there, he will be sent to war." Russia invaded Ukraine in February.


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Property seizure and auction?

Dutch prosecutors plan to seize and sell Pertsev's property at auction, according to Malik. She said his car was seized on the day he was arrested and Pertsev's lawyer told her that prosecutors will sell the vehicle.

When asked if Dutch prosecutors can seize an arrested person's assets without charging them officially, Malik said they can "as we see."

"At the moment, only a car, but I think they can come and take something else at any moment. I don't feel safe," she said. Prosecutors will sell "all of our legal property at auction, leaving me with nothing."

Pertsev's arrest has been condemned by many in the crypto industry. Last month, a group of about 50 crypto and privacy advocates protested in Amsterdam. Malik helped organize the demonstration and took part in it. Protestors argued that Pertsev should not be held responsible for writing open-source code, regardless of how it is used by bad actors.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Yogita Khatri is a senior reporter at The Block, covering all things crypto. As one of the earliest team members, Yogita has played a pivotal role in breaking numerous stories, exclusives and scoops. With nearly 3,000 articles under her belt, Yogita holds the records as The Block's most-published and most-read author of all time. Prior to joining The Block, Yogita worked at crypto publication CoinDesk and The Economic Times, where she wrote on personal finance. To contact her, email: [email protected]. For her latest work, follow her on X @Yogita_Khatri5.