Moscow Fights Greece Extradition of Alleged BTC-e Operator to United States

A Greek court ruled earlier this week in favor of extraditing Alexander Vinnik.

Russian authorities are fighting the extradition of an alleged Russian hacker from Greece to the United States, Reuters reported Friday. This is the latest move by Moscow to block US prosecution of suspected Russian cybercriminals.

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A Greek court ruled earlier this week in favor of extraditing Alexander Vinnik, 38, 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.

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.

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“Moscow perceived with regret the decision by the council of the appeals court of the city of Thessaloniki (Greece) to grant the US request on the extradition of Alexander Vinnik to the United States. We believe that this verdict is unjust and violates the basic provisions of international law,” the Russia’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

A US jury indicted Alexander Vinnik following an investigation led by the US justice department which described him as the operator of BTC-e exchange, which was allegedly used to launder more than $4 billion 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 also coincides 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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