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Alexander Vinnik

Vinnik To Be ‘Hostage’ In US Amid Russia’s War In Ukraine, Greek Lawyer Says

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Vinnik To Be ‘Hostage’ In US Amid Russia’s War In Ukraine, Greek Lawyer Says

If extradited to the United States, crypto exchange BTC-e’s alleged operator Alexander Vinnik will become a “hostage” due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, according to his Greek lawyer. France is likely to send the Russian back to Greece soon and Zoe Konstantopoulou is trying to prevent his subsequent transfer to U.S. custody.

Alexander Vinnik’s Greek Defense Fights His Extradition to US

A French court is expected to approve next week the return of convicted money launderer Alexander Vinnik to Greece. Greek authorities arrested the Russian national in 2017 and handed him over to France, two years later, where he was charged with identity theft and extortion as well. He has now served his five-year sentence there, taking into account the time spent in detention prior to the trial.

Vinnik was apprehended in Thessaloniki, where he arrived on vacation with his family, on a warrant from the U.S., where he is also accused of laundering at least $4 billion through the infamous BTC-e exchange, including money from the hack of Mt Gox. American prosecutors suspect him of collaborating with Russian intelligence, too.

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Before sending him to France, Greece approved his extradition to the U.S. with a decision of the then justice minister Kostas Tsiaras. Vinnik’s defense team now fears that soon after he is returned to the country, he will be transferred to the United States.

His Greek lawyer, former parliamentary speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, has been trying to prevent this development. In the U.S., the 43-year-old Russian IT specialist will effectively become a “hostage” of the geopolitical clash around the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she warned.

Konstantopoulou also opposes the extradition to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds, the leading Greek daily Kathimerini revealed in a recently published report. Vinnik’s wife died in 2020 and they have two sons, now aged 8 and 11, who are growing up without parents.

This month, U.S. authorities withdrew a request to get the Russian directly from France. However, according to his French lawyer Frederic Belot, this is merely a “deceitful maneuver,” meant to actually speed up his extradition through Greece, where the U.S. request is already approved.

Authorities in Moscow also formally asked both Greece and France to hand over Alexander Vinnik to Russia where he is accused of other crimes. The jailed crypto entrepreneur has on previous occasions expressed his will to return to his home country and face justice there.

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Alexander Vinnik, Arrest, BTC-e, conflict, Crypto, crypto exchange, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, Exchange, extradition, France, french, Greece, Greek, Money Laundering, Mt Gox, operator, Request, russian, sentence, Ukraine, ukrainian, vinnik, War

Do you think Greece will extradite Alexander Vinnik to the U.S., once he is handed over by France? Share your expectations about the case in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Russian Embassy in Greece

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Alexander Vinnik

US Withdraws Request To Extradite BTC-E’s Vinnik From France, Lawyer Sees ‘Deceitful Maneuver’

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US Withdraws Request To Extradite BTC-E’s Vinnik From France, Lawyer Sees ‘Deceitful Maneuver’

U.S. authorities have withdrawn their request to extradite the alleged operator of crypto exchange BTC-e Alexander Vinnik from France, his French lawyer informed Russian media. Vinnik’s defense suspects, however, that the move is intended to actually speed up his extradition through Greece.

Lawyer Says Washington Wants Vinnik to Remain in Prison

The United States withdrew a request submitted in 2020 to extradite Alexander Vinnik from France, according to Frederic Belot, who is defending him in French courts. The Russian IT specialist has served a five-year prison term in the country where he was sentenced for money laundering.

Vinnik’s international defense team has been trying to secure his release but France is more likely to send him back to Greece, where he was arrested in the summer of 2017 on a warrant from American prosecutors who accuse him of laundering at least $4 billion through the infamous cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e.

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This week, Belot told RBC Crypto that the French prosecutor’s office has resumed the process on the U.S. extradition request on July 1, 2022 in order to prevent the release of the Russian. He believes its withdrawal is a “deceitful maneuver,” intended to ensure that Vinnik stays behind bars until he is returned to Greece.

Greek authorities had already granted a U.S. request for extradition before sending him to France. That means his return to Greece can actually speed up his transfer to the United States. The next hearing in Vinnik’s case was rescheduled from Sept. 7 to Aug. 3, Belot also noted. Until then, the Russian national will remain in French prison.

Belot added that during the hearings at the Investigative Chamber of the court in Paris, Vinnik’s lawyers again reminded the French judicial authorities that the Russian Federation had also sent an extradition request to France, and much earlier than the U.S. one.

In his home country, Alexander Vinnik was accused in 2018 of stealing 750 million rubles ($13 million at current rates). He has stated he would like to return to Russia. Greek authorities extradited him to France in 2020 where he was also accused of identity theft and extortion.

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Alexander Vinnik, American, BTC-e, crypto exchange, Exchange, extradition, France, french, Greece, Greek, IT specialist, Money Laundering, operator, prison, Request, Russia, russian, Russian Federation, sentence, U.S., United States, vinnik

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Do you expect Vinnik to eventually be handed over to the United States? Share your thoughts on the case in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, An Mazhor

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Alexander Vinnik

Alexander Vinnik Serves Prison Term In France But No Freedom In Sight

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Alexander Vinnik Serves Prison Term In France But No Freedom In Sight

Having served his five-year prison sentence in France, Russian IT and crypto specialist Alexander Vinnik is now facing a return to Greece and possible extradition to the United States. A French cassation court has recently dismissed an appeal filed by his defense against the transfer.

US Extradition Continues to Haunt BTC-e’s Alexander Vinnik

The alleged operator of the infamous BTC-e exchange, Alexander Vinnik, is once again under threat of extradition to the United States. The Russian’s international defense team is still trying to secure his release but the French judiciary seems inclined to send him back to Greece, where he was arrested.

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In December 2020, Vinnik was sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering in France where he was extradited by Greece. In the summer of 2017, Vinnik was apprehended in the Greek city of Thessaloniki where he arrived on vacation with his family.

The Russian national has served his French sentence in full, taking into account his pre-trial detention and parole rules. Formally, he can now be allowed to go to Russia, where authorities have also sought his extradition on separate charges. He has in the past expressed his will to return to his home country.

However, France now intends to hand him over to Greece, after an appeal filed by his defense — comprising legal experts from Russia, France, and Greece — was rejected last month. Frederic Belot, the French lawyer representing Vinnik, told the Russian business daily Kommersant:

On Tuesday, June 28, without any motive or justification, the Court of Cassation issued a decision dismissing the appeal. This was an unexpected and shocking decision.

Alexander Vinnik is now likely to be transferred back to Greece and then to the United States, since Greek authorities have already granted the U.S. request for extradition before sending him to France. The lawyers managed to stop the immediate transfer with another appeal and have also sought help from the European Court of Human Rights.

American prosecutors believe Vinnik has laundered at least $4 billion through the now defunct crypto exchange BTC-e. U.S. investigators also suspect Vinnik of collaborating with Russian intelligence, alleging that part of the digital money that passed through the crypto trading platform could’ve been used to finance Russia’s security forces.

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What do you think will be the fate of Alexander Vinnik? Share your thoughts on the case in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

Advertisement

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Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Alexandros Michailidis

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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