Alexander Vinnik, Alleged Bitcoin Scammer, Sets Sights on Possible Extradition to Russia
Alexander Vinnik has been a popular name in crypto news lately, having been extradited to multiple countries in the last year. It does not look like the former operator of BTC-e is stopping these travels anytime soon, as he has just appealed to the courts in Greece to be released or extradited to Russia.
Vinnik is presently accused of both fraud and money laundering to the amount of $4 billion worth of Bitcoin during the last six years. His appeal is with the Piraeus court, hoping to depart to Russia under humanitarian reasons.
Before the request, Russia’s Commissioner for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova had requested help with this extradition from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou. The petition for the extradition was originally created in response to health issues of Vinnik’s, though the deterioration was due to his decision to begin a hunger strike in November.
At the time that the extradition was proposed, Moskalkova had said that Vinnik’s wife was dying as a result of serious illness. He said that the situation was an “extraordinary humanitarian” circumstance, citing this as the reason for asking for assistance in the extradition. Moskalkova also requested help in the form of medical assistance after the hunger strike, reaching out to President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, the Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, and the Greek Ombudsman, Andreas Pottakis.
Along with Russia, the authorities in France were seeking to extradite Vinnik as well, but it was concerning multiple fraud allegations in their country. In their accusations, the court allege that Vinnik is responsible for “defraud[ing] over 100 people” in multiple cities in the last two years.
In February, Russia’s Supreme Court decided to add the illicit use of cryptocurrencies under their criminal offenses covered by money laundering. The purpose of making these amendments was to comply with the suggestions made to the country by the international Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.