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Free Alex Pertsev! Petition to have Dutch authorities release TORN coder goes viral as court case looms

By Daniela Ešnerová


Updated

Tornado Cash logo.
A Dutch court will decide tomorrow whether Pertsev’s pre-trial detention will be extended. – Photo: Shuterstock

A software developer, whose code was used for developing the now sanctioned cryptocurrency mixer, Tornado Cash (TORN), will stand a preliminary trial tomorrow, the Dutch financial crimes agency, Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) confirmed to Capital.com.

The 29-year-old, Alexey (Alex) Pertsev, was arrested for alleged “facilitating money laundering” through the decentralized cryptocurrency mixing service Tornado Cash by FIOD on 10 August 2022. 

Four days before that, Tornado Cash, which allows anonymous payments, was sanctioned by the The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). OFAC alleged that Tornado Cash “has been used to launder more than $7bn worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019.”

Both the sanctions and the arrest sparked a tsunami of condemnations and protests from the crypto industry.

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Preliminary trial

The decision will be made whether the “suspected Tornado Cash developer” would be released for house arrest. 

“Tomorrow the chamber of the court will decide whether the pre-trial detention will be extended,” a spokesperson for a FIOD's public prosecution office confirmed for Capital.com. 

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The spokesperson added they could not provide any more information on the case, as the investigation is still ongoing.

A dangerous precedent

Some 50 people gathered in Amsterdam to protest Pertsev's arrest on Saturday in an event organized by Crypto Canal, with protesters holding signs like “Will you arrest a gun maker for facilitating a public shooting?” or “Writing open source is not a crime.” 

Meanwhile, more than 2,300 people signed a petition to free Pertsev in five days.

“Arrest of Amsterdam-based software developer Alex Pertsev threatens to create a dangerous precedent, as developers could now be made responsible if the software they created is misused,” Daria Mironova, the petition's organizer, wrote.

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