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Greece to extradite alleged BTC-e operator Alexander Vinnik to France after supreme court ruling

Fri, 24 Jan 2020, 06:57 am UTC

Greece’s supreme court has ruled that the alleged operator of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, will be extradited to France, CoinDesk reported.

Vinnik, a Russian national, was arrested back in 2017 by Greek authorities after law enforcement authorities of a number of countries, including, France, Russia, and the U.S., issued arrest warrants on money laundering charges. It was alleged that BTC-e facilitated transactions involving ransomware, computer hacking, identity theft, tax refund fraud schemes, public corruption, and drug trafficking.

Vinnik, however, has maintained no wrong-doing on his part, claiming that he was only an employee at BTC-e. He previously expressed his desire to be tried in Russia.

In 2018, a Greek court had ordered to extradite Vinnik to France, where authorities were seeking the alleged cybercrime suspect on charges of cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization, and extortion.

Last month, the government of Greece turned down a request from Russian Prosecutor General to extradite Vinnik directly to the country. A representative of the Russian embassy in Greece had said:

“At the first stage, Vinnik will be extradited to France. We informed Moscow about this. We are sorry to see that the reasonable request from Russia's Prosecutor General about Vinnik’s extradition to his country of citizenship was ignored.”

In a recent ruling, Greece’s Council of State, the country's apex court, agreed with a decision by Greek Justice Minister Konstantinos Tsiaras to extradite Vinnik to France, then to the U.S., and then to Russia. The ruling from the supreme court essentially means that Vinnik will not be able to appeal the extradition ruling.

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