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Greek Court Approves Extradition of Suspected BTC-e Operator to France

by Aziz Abdel-Qader
  • Vinnik's lawyers are appealing to the Greek Supreme Court, claiming that there are insufficient indications.
Greek Court Approves Extradition of Suspected BTC-e Operator to France
Alexander Vinnik suspected of running a money laundering operation is escorted by a plain-clothes police officer to a court in Thessaloniki, Greece July 26, 2017. (REUTERS)
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A Greek court supported France’s extradition request for Alexander Vinnik, an alleged Russian hacker accused of laundering $4 billion of criminal proceeds through BTC-e.

According to Russian state news agency TASS, Vinnik's lawyers are appealing to the Greek Supreme Court, claiming that there are insufficient indications, let alone evidence against Vinnik, who was arrested while vacationing in northern Greece last year.

Moscow has also submitted an extradition request for Vinnik, who denies his country’s accusations of fraud but has consented to its extradition request. A date has yet to be set for the formal hearing of this extradition.

Last year, a Greek court ruled in favor of extraditing Alexander Vinnik, 39, the alleged former operator of BTC-e, to the United States. In July, Vinnik was arrested near the northern city of Thessaloniki on a US warrant, where authorities want him on several charges of fraud, including laundering stolen funds from the hack of the defunct bitcoin exchange MtGox.

“We believe that this verdict is unjust and violates the basic provisions of international law,” Russia’s foreign ministry said at the time.

French authorities indicted Alexander Vinnik following an investigation that described him as the operator of BTC-e Exchange , which was allegedly used to launder more than 130 million euros for people involved in crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking.

US authorities also said that he was the brain behind the collapse of Japan-based Bitcoin exchange MtGox, after which he laundered the stolen monies through BTC-e and another San Francisco-based exchange called Tradehill.

Vinnik’s arrest coincided with a series of US-initiated operations against Russian hackers after officials claimed that Russia interfered in the US presidential election to help Donald Trump takes office, something Moscow denies.

A Greek court supported France’s extradition request for Alexander Vinnik, an alleged Russian hacker accused of laundering $4 billion of criminal proceeds through BTC-e.

According to Russian state news agency TASS, Vinnik's lawyers are appealing to the Greek Supreme Court, claiming that there are insufficient indications, let alone evidence against Vinnik, who was arrested while vacationing in northern Greece last year.

Moscow has also submitted an extradition request for Vinnik, who denies his country’s accusations of fraud but has consented to its extradition request. A date has yet to be set for the formal hearing of this extradition.

Last year, a Greek court ruled in favor of extraditing Alexander Vinnik, 39, the alleged former operator of BTC-e, to the United States. In July, Vinnik was arrested near the northern city of Thessaloniki on a US warrant, where authorities want him on several charges of fraud, including laundering stolen funds from the hack of the defunct bitcoin exchange MtGox.

“We believe that this verdict is unjust and violates the basic provisions of international law,” Russia’s foreign ministry said at the time.

French authorities indicted Alexander Vinnik following an investigation that described him as the operator of BTC-e Exchange , which was allegedly used to launder more than 130 million euros for people involved in crimes ranging from computer hacking to drug trafficking.

US authorities also said that he was the brain behind the collapse of Japan-based Bitcoin exchange MtGox, after which he laundered the stolen monies through BTC-e and another San Francisco-based exchange called Tradehill.

Vinnik’s arrest coincided with a series of US-initiated operations against Russian hackers after officials claimed that Russia interfered in the US presidential election to help Donald Trump takes office, something Moscow denies.

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