French Court Upholds BTC-e Operator’s 5-Year Prison Term But Exempted from 100k Euro Fine

Alexander Vinnik, an alleged operator of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange in the EU BTC-e, will be facing jail time.

His five-year prison term was upheld by the Court of Appeal of Paris on Thursday, according to a TASS report.

In December last year, Vinnik, who has been the subject of a long-running expedition battle between France, Russia, and the US since his first arrest in Greece in December 2017, was sentenced to serve five years in prison by a French court on money laundering charges.

Other charges, including extortion, conspiracy, and harming automatic data-processing systems, were dropped at the time of sentencing.

Meanwhile, the court exempted him from a fine of 100,000 euros (just under $120k) after the prosecution asked for a small fine earlier, expressing doubts on Vinnik’s ability to pay the injured parties.

The US Department named Vinnik as a mastermind behind one of the first crypto exchanges and indicted him on allegations of ransomware scams, identity theft schemes, computer intrusions and hacking incidents, corrupt public officials, and narcotics distribution rings.

Similar to the French allegations, the DOJ alleged that BTC-e was a clearinghouse for funds, including the Mt Gox hack.

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