France Joins The Push For Extradition Of Cybercrime Suspect

France Joins The Push For Extradition Of Cybercrime Suspect

France is the latest country to seek for the extradition of Alexander Vinnik to France to face cybercrime charges, in an ever-increasing number of extradition requests.

Suspect Accused Of Cybercrimes

Greek authorities have reported that France is looking to also prosecute Alexander Vinnik for several crimes including extortion, cybercrime, membership of a criminal organization and money-laundering.

Vinnik faced a Thessaloniki prosecutor after the French government tendered in an application to have him extradited to France.

The Russian cybercrime suspect was arrested in northern Greece for allegedly laundering billions of dollars on a Bitcoin trading platform. The 38-year-old has denied that he was ever an operator at BTC-e, saying he was, in fact, a technical consultant. He is among seven Russian citizens that have so far been arrested or indicted on charges relating to cybercrime around the globe this year.

The alleged mastermind of a laundering ring was in a small village in the northern part of Greece at the time of his arrest. This was after the United States requested the Greek government to arrest Alexander Vinnik and extradite him to the US where he is to face various charges varying from computer hacking to drug trafficking.

Competing Requests For The Suspect

Once news of his arrest went public, Moscow tendered in an application to have him be extradited back to his home country since he is also wanted there for a much lesser fraud charge. Vinnik reportedly has agreed to be extradited back to Russia. For this to be possible he appealed against a ruling that had already been made ordering him to be extradited to the US. The Greek Supreme Court, however, rejected this appeal and upheld the decision that he be extradited to the United States.

There is another court ruling that has ordered that the Russian citizen should be extradited back to his home country for the prosecution of the aforementioned lesser crimes. The suspect has thus far not contested this ruling.

With so many requests coming in for the cybercrime suspect, the final decision on where he ends up being sent to now lies solely with the office of the Greek Justice Minister.

The Success Of Extradition In The Fight Against Cybercrimes

Extradition has been, so far, been relatively successful in seeing cybercrimes suspects face the law. Some of the petitions to have wanted cybercrime suspects face extradition to the US have been successful.

Earlier this year, Spain extradited Russian citizen Pyotr Levashov to the US. The alleged spam king was to face charges of running a botnet which he used to commit a variety of crimes from sending malware infested messages to internet users to phishing emails and running pump-and-dump stock scams.

Levashov, who the US had been after for years, was arrested in Spain in April 2017 and was handed over to the United States authority in February. There was also a competing request from Russia in this case. However, Spain refused to honor Russia’s competing request and instead approved the US’s extradition request.

June 28, 2018

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Samantha Mitchell

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