Greek Court Agrees to Extradite Alleged Bitcoin Fraudster BTC-e Admin to France
Alexander Vinnik, a one-time admin of bitcoin platform BTC-e who was arrested in Greece last year on an international warrant for cybercrime, has been ordered by a Greek court to be extradited to France.
The United States and Russia have also sought extraditions of Vinnik. Vinnik’s lawyer, Ilias Spyrliadis, said Vinnik is appealing the court’s decision, according to the Associated Press
The Greek Supreme Court previously approved Vinnik’s extradition to the U.S. to face charges of laundering billions of dollars using bitcoin. He was arrested in Greece last year on a U.S. issued warrant.
France Wins Extradition
France sought Vinnik to face charges for money laundering, membership in a criminal organization and extortion. Authorities claim Vinnik defrauded thousands using cyber attacks via his bitcoin platform. French police claim Vinnik laundered 133 million euros worth $155 million using 20,643 bitcoins.
Vinnik, who is in jail in Greece, denies the charges.
Russian authorities, meanwhile, renewed their request to extradite Vinnik to Russia to face fraud charges. A Greek court supported the first Russian extradition request. The second request has raised the amount of money involved in the fraud to 750 rubles, worth $12 million.
A European warrant would normally take precedence over other extraditions, Spyrliadis said, meaning France would be the first country to prosecute Vinnik.
In May, Greek authorities reported a plot to kill Vinnik which the police discovered earlier in the year but did not report. The plot was reportedly ordered by someone in Russia after a court blocked the extradition request to the U.S., indicating someone did not want Vinnik to be extradited to Russia.
Vinnik is reported to have acknowledged his guilt in Russia and was prepared to cooperate with investigators there. Vinnik and his lawyers believe he should be tried in Russia.
Vinnik was arrested at the U.S. government’s request. He was believed to have been a chief executive at the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange, although the exchange claimed Vinnik was not an employee.
Police dismantled BtC-e’s domain after Vinnik was arrested. The exchange was able to restore itself under the name WEX.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
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