Court Approves Alexander Vinnik’s Extradition To France

Court Approves Alexander Vinnik’s Extradition To France

The Greek courts have decided in the on-going criminal proceedings against Alexander Vinnik, a case which drew international attention.

The Greek court has decided to extradite the Russian national to France.

Extradition to France

This decision comes after the courts decided on which of the three nations, that had tendered in extradition applications for the cybercrime suspect, would get him. Alexander Vinnik was also wanted in Russia, where he was to face significantly lesser charges of fraud, and America, which wanted him to face several criminal charges amongst which were money laundering charges.

Vinnik, who was nabbed on account of a US issued arrest warrant in Greece last year has been said to have been the operator of the currently defunct Crypto exchange BTC-e.

The authorities have accused Vinnik of using his coins in skirting the law, laundering money and defrauding the platform’s users. Ilias Spyrliadi, Vinnik’s lawyer, has appealed against the decision, which is not the first appeal that Vinnik has made to the Greek authorities. He has continually maintained that he is innocent on all criminal charges leveled against him.

Extradition Tug Of War

Vinnik is to be charged with money laundering, being part of a criminal organization cybercrime and extortion by the French Authorities. The decision has come as a surprise to many as initially, the Greek courts had approved his extradition to the US.

The Russian national has been the subject of an extradition tug of war among Russia, the United States, and France, who were looking to charge the suspect in their respective jurisdictions.

Ilias Spyrliadi pointed out the fact that a European warrant takes precedence over the rest, which saw France be first in line in the bid to have Vinnik extradited to face the various charges leveled against him. It is now left to the Greek Justice Minister to say where the subject will be extradited to.

Alexander Vinnik’s Arrest

Vinnik was arrested mid last year in Greece after FinCen (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) levied a fine of $110 million against the Crypto exchange for its violation of the AML (Anti-Money Laundering) laws. The suspect himself was also fined an additional $12 million.

While he has been incarcerated in Greece, there has been an attempted assassination against Vinnik, which the Greek authorities foiled just in time. It would later be reported that the attempted assassination was ordered by an individual or organization which does not want to see the suspect testify in Russia.

Vinnik requested for asylum in Greece, which the Greek authorities turned down. He has also appealed this decision too. The appeal on the asylum request would have to be heard first before the one on the extradition is heard.

Vinnik has been accused of defrauding 100 French nationals on his BTC-e platform. It is said he used the platform to launder $155 million through using 20,643 Bitcoin. He has also been linked to the Mt. Gox hack which led to users losing Bitcoin valued at over $450 million from the exchange in 2014.

July 17, 2018

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Samantha Mitchell