Tornado Cash Developer Pertsev Can Be Freed Pending Trial, Dutch Court Rules

Pertsev has been in a Dutch jail since August after U.S. authorities sanctioned the privacy protocol.

AccessTimeIconApr 20, 2023 at 11:09 a.m. UTC
Updated Apr 20, 2023 at 6:25 p.m. UTC

Alexey Pertsev, a Russian developer who worked on code for the Tornado Cash privacy protocol, can await trial from home, a court in the Netherlands has ruled.

The decision from a court in the city of 's-Hertogenbosch follows Pertsev's arrest in August on the orders of Dutch financial crime authority FIOD.

“We are ecstatic that he can be set free,” Pertsev’s lawyer Keith Cheng told CoinDesk, adding that Pertsev will “now work even harder and better on his defense,” which raises “important issues about privacy on Ethereum.”

Pertsev will be released next Wednesday, allowing time for the installation of electronic monitoring devices at his home. He will have to wear an ankle bracelet, but won't have to pay any financial security.

Shortly before Pertsev’s arrest, Tornado Cash was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which said the service had been used to raise funds for the North Korean regime.

The Dutch public prosecutor had previously argued Pertsev posed a flight risk and could hide evidence if he were to be released, but until this week had made only generic accusations.

This week, the public prosecutor issued more specific charges that Pertsev habitually laundered over 500,000 ether (ETH), which he should have suspected was of criminal origin. Pertsev has denied those charges.

Another investigation hearing will be held on May 24, and the court will also explore the issue of Pertsev’s residence status, which may expire in July.

CORRECTION (April 20, 2023, 11:20 UTC): Corrects headline to remove reference of bail.

UPDATE (April 20, 2023, 12:20 UTC): Adds details regarding ankle bracelet and residence status.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

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