Greek Court Grants Russia’s Request to Extradite Fraud Suspect Alexander Vinnik.
Vinnik, a Russian national accused of money laundering $4 billion in bitcoin through a cryptocurrency exchange, has been arrested in Greece after a United States grand jury on indicted him for fraud on Wednesday. The United States Justice Department described Vinnik as the operator of BTC-e, a digital currency exchange for bitcoin.
In addition to fraud related to his exchange, Alexander Vinnik has also been linked to the Mt Gox failure, a Japanese-exchange that came to its end after being hacked. Once hacked, Vinnik obtained the platform’s funds in a bank and laundered them through his exchanges, including BTC-e and Tradehill. According to Brian Stretch, an attorney for the Northern District of California,
“Just as new computer technologies continue to change the way we engage each other and experience the world, so too will criminals subvert these new technologies to serve their own nefarious purposes.”
France is also accusing Alexander Vinnik of fraud. According to French authorities, Vinnik has
“defraud[ed] over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.” Vinnik denied the allegations, claiming that he was “transferring e-money through a platform [that he considered] legitimate personal transactions.”
Although there is no indication that the United States has requested that he be extradited, both France and Russia have filed requests with the Greek court. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted that Russia’s request be given priority over France’s.
Despite the request, it seems that the Greek court has granted Russia’s request and that the country will be Vinnik’s new destination.