On August 12, Pertsev was arrested by the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) for allegedly using the Ethereum-based privacy tool to launder the money and cover up criminal financial flows.
Malik confirmed to Cointelegraph that Dutch authorities are still holding Pertsev and that he has not been able to contact him since his arrest.
"He's being held as if he were a dangerous criminal," he said, expressing her concern that Pertsev was arrested without cause for what she considers to be a minor offense:
"It surprises me that someone can be arrested for writing open source code."
He stated that she can only "guess how he is doing and how difficult it is for him right now" because the Dutch authorities have barred her [or anyone else] from contacting him, not even "one short call."
Despite feeling helpless in this situation, Malik is not alone. 1inch, a DeFi aggregator, organized a rally in Amsterdam on August 20 to show support for Pertsev and to defend developers' privilege to create open-source software.
According to 1inch, Pertsev's arrest threatens to "create a dangerous precedent" that could kill the entire open-source software segment if creators are held accountable for any software they develop others mishandle.
In light of 1inch's efforts and the broader crypto community, Malik stated that she is very grateful to everyone who helps and supports her husband, demonstrating that people really care.
She also claims that the rally will not only bring attention to Pertsev's injustice but will also optimistically influence the public perspective on the nature of the open-source Code.
"We want to generate publicity so that as many people as possible are aware of the arrest and the reasons for its illegality." This is a serious matter, as this accusation can affect every open source developer and many others."
However, Pertsev's arrest is not universally condemned. In a previous interview, venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary stated that crypto privacy tools like Tornado Cash are part of a crypto cowboy culture that messes with the primal forces of regulation. While also describing Pertsev's arrest as necessary.
"If we have to sacrifice him, that's fine," he said, "because we want some stability in that institutional capital."
Before the arrest, the US Office of Foreign Asset Control prohibited US residents from communicating with Tornado Cash on August 8, citing growing worries that it was being used to launder money. Since Pertsev launched Tornado Cash in 2019, the US Treasury believes it has helped facilitate more than $7 billion in laundering money activity.